The Narcotics Task Force of Hardin County, Kentucky, are constantly fighting meth and cracking down the labs that manufacture them. In 2008, task force agents were able to break into 105 meth labs in Hardin and around the counties that surround it. The sad discovery is that eight out of every 10 of these labs come with innocent victims â€“ children.
Hardin County Narcotics Task Force Agent Rex Allaman has seen children hospitalized and tested positive for meth in his thirteen years on this beat. Awareness on the issue is widespread. Even the primetime drama Grey's Anatomy did an episode in their fourth season on the effects of meth on children, where an eighteen-month-old baby suffered a stroke after a meth lab operated by his parents out of their home exploded.
This is a scene that is replayed no doubt across the country, as irresponsible adults unnecessarily expose children, sometimes their own, to the dangers of meth. To combat this, new laws are now being enforced which consider exposing children to meth manufacturing as a type of felony child abuse. Parents who are found guilty under this abuse law may have their children taken away â€“ and this has already been the result for a number of cases.
In order to lessen the trauma of such experiences to affected children, the Kentucky State Police has partnered with several organizations to support these children, who may have been forcibly taken by the police or social services from their parents or caregivers during meth lab busts. Last December, seventy volunteers from the Severns Valley Baptist Church helped KSP by stocking about 700 backpacks with toys, crayons, books, shirts, blankets and decontamination materials. These backpacks are distributed to social workers and police officers throughout the state to give to kids found during meth lab raids.
Although few of the 7,000 cases of children in state custody in Kentucky can be directly tied to meth, which may indicate that this is not yet a serious problem, the potential for danger to a child is serious enough for the issue to warrant a certain level of attention and concern. In 2008, meth is considered as a significant contributor to the 305 cases where children were removed from Hardin County homes.