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Kids From Grow-Op Homes Healthy, Drug-Free: Study

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Kids from grow-op homes healthy, drug-free: study





By: Diana Mehta, The Canadian Press


Date: Wednesday Jul. 27, 2011 7:38 AM PT


When it comes to children being raised in homeswhere their parents produced drugs, medically speaking, in most cases the kidsare all right, suggests a Canadian study.


While it doesn't condone home-grown illicitsubstances, the research from the Motherisk Program at the Hospital for SickChildren in Toronto goes on to question the frequent seizure of children fromthose homes as it found most kids to be healthy and free of drug exposuresymptoms.


The study, published in the online edition ofthe Journal of Pediatrics, is being cautiously received by police and childwelfare agencies which say the good news on the medical front is only one partof a larger picture where additional risks to the child still exist.


Motherisk examined 75 children in Ontario's YorkRegion between 2006 and 2010. The research was prompted by a request from theregion's police and children's aid society after a spike in kids found atsuburban drug production units.


While 32 per cent of the children had hair teststhat came back positive for the presence of illicit substances, the majority ofkids who were studied had no clinical symptoms related to the drugs.


Hair follicle tests can be positive long afterexposure to drugs and can indicate the environmental presence of drugs orchemicals used to make them. The positive test doesn't mean that the child hasbeen damaged by the drug.


Additionally, the study said there were fewerhealth problems among the children examined than those in the general Canadianpopulation.


"We clearly found ourselves that the kidsare doing well," study author Dr. Gideon Koren told The Canadian Press onTuesday. "Which brings the question, is it healthy to separate them from parents?"


Koren said the research suggests not all in-homedrug operations can be considered the same and the decision to remove a childmust be made on a case-by-case basis.


He added that most children examined were sad atbeing separated from their parents and were not doing well in school at thetime, but were nonetheless largely healthy and free of drugs themselves.


"You cannot equate parents producingillegal drugs as necessarily people who are dangerous for their kids," hesaid, adding that children who came from such homes were usually well takencare of before being taken away.


There were also very few cases in which theparents were drug users themselves, or where the Children's Aid Society wasaware of the family before the home was raided, he said.


One important distinction that emerged in thestudy, however, was that children who grew up in homes running methamphetaminelabs were in poorer health.


The York Region's Children's Aid Society --which saw an "explosion" of children coming into its care with thesuburban grow-op boom of the early 2000s -- said Koren's study is a valuableone, but must also be placed into context.


Director Patrick Lake said every effort is nowmade to place a child with extended family, friends or even a teacher, but if aparent is arrested for producing drugs, the society usually has to step in.


"Obviously we can't leave children in thehome unattended, so we still are automatically involved in a lot of thesecases," he said.


The society now also takes a more"customized care" approach to every case, made possible by changes in2007 to Ontario's Child and Family Services Act.


The positive bill of health aside, Lake saidother risk factors like the presence of firearms in a home, potential domesticviolence, the level of secrecy that needs to be maintained by the children andrisky living conditions must also be considered.


He also points out that in most cases the kidsare returned to their families in anywhere from a few months to a few days.


"It's not like we've got this warehouse ofkids," said Lake. "These kids are going back home once we've beenable to deal with the other risk factors involved in the home."


The York Regional Police had a similar response,saying the research was encouraging from a medical perspective but only dealtwith one piece of a larger puzzle.


"Whether there's drugs present or not, weneed to be concerned," said Deputy Police Chief Bruce Herridge. "'Isthis child in need of care?' That determination cannot be left solely towhether they're medically well or not."


Herridge said the presence of children found inthese operations is evaluated based on a number of factors such as how longthey had been there, if they'd been left alone near dangerous chemicals andtheir level of knowledge about the drugs.


"I think it's useful information," hesaid of the study. "But it's not to the point where in a policeinvestigation we would say, 'Oh there's kids here but who cares, there's nomedical ill-effects of them being here, so we shouldn't be concerned about them.'I don't think any one looks at a child from one dimension."



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Michael Komorn




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It wouldn't matter if 100% of kids raised in homes where cannabis is grown were to all turn out to be awesome, productive members of our world, those in charge want to stay in charge, no matter what the facts are or what free people say about their tyrannical rule. We all already know this instinctively, people involved with growing plants and helping people with love and compassion would naturally turn out great kids. But those who hate your individual human rights will want to kill you and take your children and all your property if you don't get in line and shape up, so watch it!!!


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