AR is a 14 year-old girl who was brought to the ER by EMS after the Sheriff's Drug Task Force raided a home with a meth lab. ST is a counselor with Child Protective Services.
ST: Do you know why you are here?
AR: My mother was arrested and the cops said I had to come here.
ST: Do you know why your mother was arrested?
AR: The cops say she was making meth.
ST: Was she?
AR: My mom said to keep my mouth shut.
ST: What we discuss today is going to be used to help you, not to hurt your mother. I need to know what chemicals you may have been around.
AR: I don't know what kind of stuff I been around. Lots of stuff.
ST: Do you feel safe at home?
AR: I guess I do. But I been worried about my Sissy and Bubba.
ST: How old are they?
AR: Sissy is 10 and Bubba is 3.
ST: What are you worried about?
AR: Well, them chemicals you talked about. And the people that come over.
ST: What about the people?
AR: They always have guns. My momma has a rule that you have to leave you guns and knives at the door. There's always a big pile on the floor at the front.
ST: Do you touch them?
AR: No. But Bubba got 'hold of one once. A gun, I mean. I don't know what kind. But Sissy and me had come out to clean and found him in the front hall waving a gun around. He wouldna shot it, I mean he don't know how. But we were afraid of an accident. Sissy and me was real scared until we got it from him.
ST: Why didn't you get your mother?
AR: She was asleep and we couldn't wake her up.
ST: How often did your mother have people over?
AR: Oh, there was people over all the time. But sometimes she would have these parties and lots of people would come over. The would use drugs and drink and have sex. Everybody would end up naked on the floor of the living room.
ST: And you and your brother and sister were part of this?
AR: No, ma'am. I mean, we would watch TV in momma's room. When everything would get quiet, me and Sissy would come out and pick up all the needles so as Bubba wouldn't get into them. That was scary.
AR: Yeah. You know you can get sick from them needles. That's why we can't let Bubba get ahold of 'em.
There was more, but you get the drift. These kids come into the ER in incredibly filthy clothes, malnourished and having been exposed to toxic waste, not to mention the clouds of smoke around the house from the people smoking meth. As this interview demonstrates, they are also exposed to sex and weapons, often to great detriment.
I am sick and tired of advocates for legalizing drugs claiming that this doesn't hurt anyone other than the user. These kids are behind the 8 ball. Look at the example that has been set for them. This environment was not created because the drug was illegal, but because of the way the drug makes people act.
Advocates for legalizing drug use, such as those in the comments, ignore the realities of use of mood altering drugs. The mother described in this interview did not behave the way she did because the drugs were illegal, but because they were available and for the effect. I agree that the kids would not be exposed to some of the chemicals if the drugs were manufactured legally and sold OTC, but the neglect, malnourishment and exposure to needles, guns and sex would still be present.