Dirty from head to toe, skin riddled with red bedbug bites and wandering her mother’s apartment complex grounds. When police arrived to the call of a toddler meandering alone, the 3-year-old said six shocking words: “I’m hungry … I need a beer.”
The mother was found sleeping inside their apartment – replete with cockroaches and moldy dishes in the sink – with the door ajar.
Another true story: A sober student athlete is dropped from a state university for not passing entry-level placement tests his first year. He reflects that, although smart, he grew up watching his mom’s boyfriend smoking crack at the dining room table and his mom regularly smoking weed around him. Tests were no problem before that began, but ever since, it had for him to connect the dots in a test format.
These examples are less the exception than a common experience across the nation. Parental neglect by substance exposure is not pigeon-holed exclusively to low-income demographics. When “do as I say, not as I do” crosses legal boundaries, parents’ substance abuse puts this generation’s children in peril.
Second-hand marijuana smoke danger
Women across the globe who may feel overwhelmed, pressured into motherhood or ill-prepared have tried many a tactic to cope and soothe themselves, or their children, through daily routines interspersed with marijuana.
Parents with medical issues smoke in their downtime for pain management. Others do it while parenting, for emotional relief. However, the consequences of smoking around children are scientifically researched to be physically and psychologically damaging.
The National Poison Data System uncovered the rate of marijuana exposure among children under six years old jumped one and a half times from 2003–2013. An astounding 75 percent of those exposed were younger than three years old. Nearly 41 percent of the children experienced at least one of the following symptoms: drowsiness or lethargy, motor coordination problems, irritability, confusion, coma, seizures and respiratory depression.
Matthew Springer, associate professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco, studied second-hand weed smoke effects on the body using ultrasound machines. He affirms that children exposed to second-hand marijuana smoke likely experience physical damages. “If you’re hanging out in a room where people are smoking a lot of marijuana, you may be harming your blood vessels. There’s no reason to think marijuana smoke is better than tobacco smoke,” he said.
The irony is many parents who smoke marijuana around their children are very well causing some of the same issues that have motivated their use. Research compiled collaboratively by the National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center and the University of California, Berkeley, highlighted a significant effect: emotional unavailability on the part of the chronic-use parent and emotional detachment of the heavily exposed child.
The research also demonstrated nervous system dysfunction compromising a child’s development, when exposed to cannabis ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Dysfunction can manifest as:
- Disturbed and poor sleep patterns
- Easily agitated
- Weakened immune system
- Impulsive behavior
- Difficulty with problem solving, attention, planning and memory
- Depressive symptoms
Children in meth labs
If the effects of children inhaling marijuana smoke is daunting, kids within range of meth labs or meth use is downright mortifying. Methamphetamine is the most widely abused illegal drug on the West Coast. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) spotlights a strong link between domestic violence and meth use. A child in a home where methamphetamine production is nearby is vulnerable to:
- Fires and explosions
- Noxious chemical fumes
- Abuse and neglect
- Social problems
- Exposure to overt sexual activity or pornographic materials
- Living with dogs trained to be dangerous to protect illegal meth labs
The National Institute of Drug Abuse details collateral damage to meth-exposed children.
Children who live in or near meth labs are not only exposed to the psychoactive stimulant but also to the waste, toxic precursor chemicals, and filth associated with these labs. Psychoactive compounds in meth can cause psychosis, seizures, and death from accidental ingestion. Information is limited because of underreporting, causing the medical, developmental and placement impacts on these children to remain unknown. Pediatrics, child welfare, law enforcement and criminal justice can all benefit from state-by-state documentation.
A chance for a brighter future
Thankfully, a child’s past influences, but does not guarantee their future. Epigenetics is a growing study of how genes evolve past hereditary traits, within an individual. It is possible – and with professional resources even probable – to redirect the course of one’s outcome beyond a family history of substance abuse.
As an example, the college student mentioned earlier used community and academic personal references and study resources. A year later, he petitioned his way back into the same university, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degree.
If you or a loved one is addicted to drugs, the Florida Detox Helpline can help you get in touch with one of the best Detox Helpline Center in Florida in your vicinity. Call our 24/7 rapid detox helpline 855-920-9869 or chat online with our representatives to get more information about the finest rapid detox helpline facilities in Florida providing evidence-based therapeutic interventions to ensure safe detoxification.