It is a sad commentary on our society and its irresponsible drug use and abuse that we would need to know about the consequences of methamphetamine abuse on babies and children. The fate of a baby yet unborn ultimately lies in the hands of the mother-to-be, and her wisdom and good judgment in how she conducts herself with a look to the baby’s physical and mental well being and the quality of a human being’s future her conduct will determine. Once the baby is born, it is the child whose fate and future is largely determined by the rational conduct, wisdom, good judgment and love of caring parents who provide for the safety and well being of the child so he or she can grow-up into an educated and moral adult who has the opportunity to live a good and happy life. It is a given that meth–its manufacture, use and abuse–steals that all away.
The Meth Babies
Those babies born to mother using meth while pregnant are the meth babies. Because of their mothers’ meth abuse, they can suffer a myriad of problems including meth addiction themselves.
Meth babies are also at risk of suffering a stroke in utero, with all its consequences.
Although the long-term effects are not yet fully known or understood, it is known that the meth being used by the mother gets into the unborn baby’s body, affecting the baby’s development, and potentially contributing to low birth weight and mental and physical defects. In the case of an in-utero stroke, nothing can be done to mitigate the damage, and the yet unborn baby runs the risk of lifelong problems as a result.
The mother’s meth use while pregnant can lead to the baby being born addicted to meth, consequently experiencing meth withdrawal and all its hardships upon being born. These babies can manifest the sleeplessness of meth, sleeping only one hour per night until the drug begins to wear off. They can also experience tremors, muscles stiffness and difficulty in gripping things.
It seems that some meth babies overcome the meth use inflicted upon them while in utero, except in the cases of stroke. However, the questions regarding how much meth use results in permanent damage to the individual’s ability to think and use his or her body remains unknown.
Whatever damaging and painful consequences a baby is burdened with by the mother’s meth abuse, it is a terrible way to try and start a life worth living. Birth and childhood were never intended to be fraught with the horrors of met addiction and abuse.
The Meth Children
Children in general tend to more at risk than adults in experiencing the damaging consequences of environmental hazards, due in part to their weaker immune systems, faster metabolic rate and the immaturity of their body organ systems.
Another factor in their vulnerability is their need to breathe more air, eat more food and drink more fluids per pound of body weight. Additionally, because children crawl, put things in their mouths, put their hands in their mouths and all the other characteristic baby and child-type activities, it exposes them to additional hazards.
According to the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) data, children were living in 30% of the meth labs nationwide at the time of seizure by law enforcement. The greatest danger is to children is living in an environment where the meth is made, exposing them to the highest level of chemicals. These children are also at risk of fire, chemical burns, and explosion. Sadly, theses meth children are often neglected and abused by their drug abusing parents, living in filthy and chaotic environments.
In 2013, upwards of 2,000 children were present during methamphetamine lab seizures across the nation. Of those children, twenty-two were injured and two were killed. It is a sobering statistic from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration which gives us all pause to look at what each one of us can do to help alleviate the suffering of our nation’s meth babies and meth children.