Monday, January 14, 2008

The Devastating Effects of Meth Use

Parenting Educational Resources
Keeping Families First - The Devastating Effects of Meth Use

Users Not the Only Losers

by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator

This article appears in the July 2005 NEBLINE Newsletter

Devastating Effects of Meth

Meth Production is Toxic to Communities

Rules for Talking to Kids About Drugs

Users Not the Only Losers

Meth destroys not only those who use it, but also the people around them.

Families

Producers and users of methamphetamine many times become so preoccupied with the drug that they neglect their family and children. Impacts on families can include:

Psychological impact

Financial costs

Safety concerns

Rise in domestic disputes and/or domestic violence

Breaks families apart

Children

Children of users often lack necessities such as food, water, shelter and proper medical care. They are at higher risk of:

Physical, sexual and emotional abuse

Delayed speech and language skills

Hyperactivity and attention disorders

Violent behavior

Lack of boundaries/easy attachment to strangers

Other developmental problems

Increased risk for substance abuse in later life

Infants

Meth use during pregnancy or while breast feeding can cause major problems for babies. Levels of meth present in breast milk are higher than levels in blood. Infants are at higher risk of:

Premature birth

Birth defects (six times more)

Growth retardation

Withdrawal symptoms, including abnormal sleep patterns, high pitched cry, poor feeding

Sensitivity to stimuli including human touch and regular light

Coordination problems

Communities

Nearly 8% of Nebraska’s budget -- over $291 million in 1998 -- is spent on substance abuse** related costs. This does not include local and federal costs. State programs affected include justice, education, health, child/family assistance, mental health/developmental disabilities, public safety and state workforce.

Federal sentences for meth-related drug convictions in Nebraska are five times the national average. In 2002, there were almost 12,000 arrests for drug abuse violations.

Meth addicts commit several crimes each year to support their habit. These crimes range from check forgery, credit card fraud, and identity theft to shoplifting, stealing and assault.

**This includes all drugs, not just meth.

Sources:

"Methamphetamine — One of Rural Nebraska’s Greatest Challenges" by UNL Extension Educators Sue Brown and Marilyn Fox

“Life or Meth: What’s It Cost?” Midwest HIDTA

“Methamphetamine: Children at Risk” developed by the Kansas Methamphetamine Prevention Project

U.S. Department of Justice


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