The two couples idly chatted until MarLee, feeling left out, suddenly spoke up. “I know all about meth-am-phet-a-mine.” The complex word came out in small chunks as she struggled through it.
Marlee’s eight. She’s the carefully protected granddaughter of Bart and Liz Cleburne. She’s chattering away in The Passing of Tulee Main mostly to get a little attention from the ‘grownups’. You can tell that as you read the story. Why in the world would she choose to bring up meth?
Today, we’re going to look at meth and kids. In ‘Tulee Main’, the kids get by with no connection to it except for MarLee’s proud report of her school project; it’s just not part of the story line. It’s a fact, however, that meth is a horrifying part of everyday life for many other kids in Tennessee and elsewhere.
Lets look at some of the information that’s out there:
The statistics summary of the Tennessee Methamphetamine Initiative for Child Advocacy Centers (METH) shows that between 1100 and 1600 kids have been victims of meth or other drugs every year from 2010 to 2012. That’s way too many kids to be victims of anything.
The Tennessee Department of Children Services estimated the methamphetamine related cost for 2010 was $18,725,960.
The National Association of Counties, in a survey of 500 sheriff’s departments in 45 states taken some time ago, had this to say – Forty percent of child welfare officials report that methamphetamine has led to an increase in the number of children removed from homes.
Let’s listen to people who actually deal with this.
From the knoxnews.com site, Sep 15, 2010 ‘Castaway kids:’
. . . Officers sometimes have to step around toys and bicycles on the way to serve warrants or batter down doors.
“. . . You can’t imagine it if you’ve never been in the jail at 2 or 3 a.m and seen these kids waiting on somebody to come get them,” Cumberland County Sheriff Butch Burgess said. “When you see the places where these kids are coming out of and what they’re being exposed to, it makes you sick.”
“We don’t really see as many kids in labs anymore, because so may of our repeat cooks have already lost their kids,” said Conway Mason, drug investigator for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department.
“We found an entire lab (this spring) in a child’s room covered up with toys,” Campbell County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Brandon Elkins said. “That’s where the kids sleep. This stuff doesn’t just disappear. It’s there long after the lab’s gone.”
And this is only a little bit of it.
In public meetings, handouts, papers, TV shows, web sites, you can find hundreds of instances where meth has scarred kids – sometimes ‘not too bad’, sometimes for their lifetime. Sometimes it’s ended those lives.
Is it getting better?
In the most perverse way it is – sorta, kinda.
Just recently, December 1, 2014, TNReport.com News Service , Inc. put out a informative article titled: TN Meth Production Dips, Mexican Cartels Pick Up Slack.
You might want to look it up or contact them for a copy. It turns out that maybe homestyle drug production in Tennessee (the thing that endangers so many of these kids) is declining – because the Mexican drug cartels are pouring so much more of their factory produced poison into the area.
What a way to make ‘progress’.
Comment at will
(This post is intended to complement the narrative and views expressed in “The Passing of Tulee Main”. To learn more about the book, press the ‘Main Site Home Page’ link at the top of this post. (Beyond the on-site material there, the Nook, Kindle and Amazon links have sample chapters available to view.)