Officials: children are at risk of second-hand exposure to drugs

Officials: children are at risk of second-hand exposure to drugs

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Local children are at a high risk of second-hand exposure to illegal substances present in the home.

Child advocacy centers like CASA play a large role in securing the safety of a child after a child has been exposed to dangerous drugs.

In a shocking statistic, CASA says 90 percent of their cases involve children who are exposed to drugs, primarily methamphetamine, in their home.

"Meth is one of those drugs where it's going to show up on the kids and anything in the house. We're seeing that mom is testing positive and the department, the APD, and the hospitals are then checking and doing drug tests on the children," said Executive Director of Casa Lara Escobar. "That's a huge concern. If someone is using drugs in the home and they're getting that secondary exposure."

Prosecutors in both Potter and Randall Counties have recently secured child endangerment indictments against offenders by using hair follicles from children staying in homes where these drugs were present.

"What usually occurs is we have made an arrest, we've run a search warrant, we've knocked down a crack-house or whatever, and if there is children present, we're going to test to see," said Randall County District Attorney James Fanner. "One of the very best places to test is the hair because it's now in the follicle, and as the hair grows it'll remain there until it's clipped off."

Amarillo's CASA will work with the court to make sure these children are receiving treatment plans that best suit their situation.

"As an advocate group, we're going to make sure that those services are happening and that they're progressing and that they're thriving," said Lara Escobar. "If they're not, we want to get them re-evaluated by a therapist or a doctor or whoever may be treating them and make sure we're constantly meeting their needs to help them be successful adults."

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