by Devin Sanchez
"It's just a powerful drug. It's something that's all consuming and definitely more damaging than maybe some other drugs that don't take over a person as quickly as a person can get hooked on meth," Constance Roberts, a licensed chemical dependency counselor with PDAP, said.
When you think of a mother, meth addict isn't the first thing that comes to mind. But, in the Permian Basin, meth use among women with children is on the rise.
"On a scale from one to 10, I could say between four and six. As opposed to 10 years ago, maybe two," she said explaining that the increase is due to the booming economy.
"With more money sometimes comes more problems. When someone's making in excess of $2,000 to $3,000 a week, then the mothers don't have to work, or choose not to work," she said. It's something that keeps you up and keeps you going, you know that kind of stuff."
Roberts explained that at birth, standard tests are run on the newborn, including tests that detect narcotics.
"If the baby or the mother comes up positive for these tests, they are mandated to see us. We get referrals from CPS, sometimes we get referrals from probation officers," Roberts said.
CPS said more than 50% of all cases where children are removed from their parents involve substance abuse. They couldn't get into the specifics of how many of those are meth cases because they don't break down the case by the type of drug involved.
Roberts said mothers who's kids do get taken away go through an emotional process.
"It's frustrating. There's remorse, there's guilt, there's anger and frustration, especially if they don't think their problem warranted their kids being removed," she said.
While most everyone is familiar with the physical toll meth takes on a user, there's a mental toll it can take on the kids.
"Somebody could look young, then within a year, look like they aged 20-30 years," Roberts said.
Children who are exposed to the drug are at risk of being depressed later in life, having ADHD and having an anxiety disorder.