Meth Orphans: Part One

2-21-05 – The rise in meth labs and meth users in Texoma is leading to an increased number of children displaced because their parents are either in jail, or too preoccupied with their addictions to take care of these children.

These so-called, meth orphans, are often brutally abused at the hands of their parents and their parent’s dealers.

According to the Collin County DA’s office, the prostitution of meth orphans is not uncommon. Out of desperation, parents allow their children to be molested or raped in exchange for drugs.

“It’s probably the worse situation in the world you can think of to put your kids or anyone else into. Their only God in life is methamphetamine. That’s a short, explicit way to say it, but they worship methamphetamine and nothing else,” says Bryan County Sheriff Bill Sturch.

Sheriff Sturch says children of meth users are often mal-nourished and physically abused. He says officers have found children drinking from bottles of spoiled milk.

Children who are removed from these kinds of homes will either live with other relatives or go into foster care.

“Some of the stuff that they tell me is shocking. You just can’t describe what somebody would do to a child,” says one foster mother, who wishes to remain anonymous.

She says out of the thirty children she has cared for over the years, half are meth orphans.

Meth use has several side effects that include paranoia, chronic depression, and an increased sex drive.

Sexual abuse of children in homes that use methamphetamine is common. Law enforcement says they find pornography in the form of magazines, pictures, and home-made videos.

According to the federal government, 20% of meth labs seized last year had children present. Undercover drug agents say even more children are affected in areas like Ardmore where officers usually find clothing, toys and other signs that indicate a child lives in a meth lab.

Tuesday night on First News at 10, part two of the Meth Orphans series will continue with the story of a mother who lost her children because of her addiction to drugs.

Where are her three children now and what challenges does the system face in dealing with meth orphans? The story: on First News at 10.