The story being carried by most media this morning relates to P contamination in brand new state houses:
Nearly a quarter of homes built for a brand new state housing development in Christchurch have already been contaminated with P less than a year later.
In most cases, the tenants were single mums with small children, including four toddlers under two.
Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett said she found the figures "shockingly high" and the age at which some children were being exposed to P, or meth, was an "extreme concern".
"Four of them are two years or younger, so wee babies. It's at a time when they are most susceptible to their environment and they need the healthiest environment they can possibly get. There are some quite serious health effects [from P] with skin and respiratory conditions. And equally you have to question if its a healthy and safe environment. "
The public has every right to take an interest in this. They are paying for it. Paying people to use P around babies - and quite possibly before their births (but that's another matter).
In NZ CYF advises it's social workers:
How does methamphetamine use affect the care of a child or young person?
While methamphetamine use isn't an automatic indicator of unsuitability to care for a child or young person, it does affect a parent/caregiver's ability on different levels. Low-intensity users can generally still function but may experience mood swings. When high, users can feel 'good', be alert, and have a high level of physical activity.
Methamphetamine users may experience increasing feelings of depression, lethargy and loss of energy when 'coming down' after use. These symptoms can impair the user's interest in caring for their children, depriving them of basic physical and emotional needs. This period can last for months during which there is a high probability of substance re-use and an increased need for sleep.
There is a P crisis and there is a child abuse crisis. Or am I overstating the situation?
When National came to power they launched an attack on P. Is it working? From the Drug Foundation:
One of the Prime Minister’s major allies (and instruments) in the war on meth is Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess. He was skeptical of the downward trend in the statistics the last time I interviewed him in 2014, and eight months on, in light of these two enormous busts, he shows no sign of changing his mind.
“I think we’re probably getting mixed messages around that,” he says into the phone, the wryness in his delivery as reliable as ever.
“Some of the survey data, and Chris Wilkins’ data out of Massey, suggests that the numbers are stable or potentially diminishing. But balanced against that, we’re seeing pretty significant amounts of drugs either being manufactured or imported.”
I am in the legalise- all- drugs camp because prohibition is a failure on so many counts, here and internationally.
But when users expose their children pre and post birth, it's a matter for the law.
(Someone asked me at the ACT conference what I thought about orphanages. I am inclined to believe that properly run, they would be better places than some of these toxic shit-holes children are being raised in).