The Silent Victims of Domestic Meth Labs
Meth Lab Busts Illustrate Horrific and Heartbreaking Stories
Domestic meth labs are increasing tremendously. This trend is resulting in one of the main reasons for children being abused or killed in a horrific and heartbreaking manner. The Drug Enforcement Administration estimates that around thirty percent of home meth busts occur where children visit or live. Local law enforcement agencies say the number can be as high as ninety percent. Junkies now have a cheap meth production method that they can use at home or in their car, causing injuries and deaths to children.
Beautiful two-year-old Frankee Arroyo, living in Kentucky, reached for a glass in her mother’s boyfriend Cadillac Escalade, raised it to her lips and swallowed the content. The police said that the boyfriend cooked his own junk, and the glass contained drain cleaner. The spilled drain cleaner ate through the leather upholstery. Little Frankee must have screamed when the sulfuric acid burned its way down her throat and into her stomach. Jared McStoots of Ohio, the boyfriend, and Racheal Arroyo, the mother, took Frankee to a hospital six hours after she drank Liquid Fire drain cleaner. These tragic child injuries are preventable.
Rachael Arroyo remains behind bars in Ohio County. She was charged with wanton child endangerment for exposing her child to meth manufacturing. Frankee Arroyo is just one of a number of children who have been abused, scarred, killed or neglected by a skyrocketing number of domestic meth labs. Meth addicts are now able to manufacture their drugs in their cars or homes with ingredients available at local drug and hardware stores.
Carol Cha, U.S. Government Accountability Office’s acting director of Homeland Security and Justice, says they are concerned about the increase of these domestic meth labs and the huge impact it has on children. According to a survey conducted by GAO, more than 21,000 children were impacted in a ten-year period beginning in 2002. According to Data Envelopment Analysis, about 11,000 cases were reported last year. The figure may be inaccurately low due to fact that not all cases of child abuse were reported.
The War Against Drugs
The major victory in the war against drugs included the federal and state restrictions on sinus and cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine. The latter is a critical ingredient to manufacturing methamphetamine. Meth cookers now simply send buyers to obtain the medicine in a practice known as smurfing, and they use the one-pot method to manufacture the meth themselves. Instead of the sophisticated manufacturing process in remote areas, they mix caustic chemicals, other household items and pseudoephedrine, which are a highly dangerous process. Household items include drain cleaner, lithium batteries and cold packs.
The Silent Victims of Meth Labs
In 2009, the gruesome death of a three-year-old boy, Kayden Daniels, raised awareness about the toll of domestic meth labs. Several adults were using the trailer where Kayden, his mother and mother’s boyfriend lived. The trailer was used for making meth, and the boy grabbed a cup of acid and drank from it. Kayden died tragically an hour later.
The police arrested the parents of a 20-month old boy who suffered serious burns on his chest, face and mouth after he got hold of drain cleaner. Curtis Anderson and Brittany Helton, parents of the boy, were arrested in Pulaski County and the boy was taken to the Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital.
Brian Herrin was charged with making meth after a child started to take a drink from a cup containing Liquid Fire on a table in the house. He dropped the cup when the acid burned his mouth and lips. The boy was flown to the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital as it was feared that the injuries could be life-threatening. The boy survived.
Children Taken into State Custody
According to experts from Social Services, physical and sexual abuses occur in higher numbers when adults are high on drugs. By just breathing the air where meth chemicals are used can cause respiratory disease and brain damage.
Some states have more detailed records than others. In Missouri, there are no more foster families to take children who were removed from meth lab homes. Tennessee is home to the biggest number of meth labs, and almost 1,650 children were taken into state custody in a period of five years. Missouri has the second highest number of domestic lab incidents. More than 2,200 cases were reported in 2011. The number of children harmed by meth labs in the United States is impossible to know.
Keep Your Child Safe from Household Chemicals
All potentially dangerous chemicals should be kept out of children’s reach by storing household cleaners behind a child-safe lock on a cabinet door. Toxic products should always be locked and not even older children should be able to reach it. Personal items such as hair products, nail polish and remover should also be kept out of a child’s reach. Never leave household chemicals unattended when children are around.