Monday, December 18, 2006

What happened to Texas kids seized under new meth law?

Sometimes, the unasked questions are the most important ones. Like the one in the headline to this post.

Continuing with analysis from the Texas House Law Enforcement Committee interim report (pdf), another "charge" to the committee was to monitor the implementation of HB 164, Texas anti-meth law passed in 2005 that authorized the state to take custody of children seized near meth labs and required consumers to show ID and sign for pseudoephedrine products (like cold tablets) that are used to make homemade meth.

I was disappointed the committee failed to focus at all in its report on the most important aspect of this bill: What happened to the children seized as a result of this new law? Were they later returned to their parents? Did they enter the foster care system? Since HB 164 provided no new or specialized resources for these chidren, do we know whether they received counseling and support needed by a child traumatized by removal from their family? None of these questions are discussed in the report - we don't even know how many children were seized under the new law - 10, 50, 100, 500, quien sabe?

Did anybody see 60 Minutes' segment on foster children who were taken away from their parents last night? Here's the video. What happens psychologically to children under such circumstances really can't be understood unless you've witnessed it. These kids are psychically brutalized then basically thrown away. And the Law Enforcement Committee's report reflects that - nobody even looked to see what happened to them.

The one part of the bill that officials say worked as planned, sort of, is the registration requirements for "precursor" meth-making chemicals - according to DPS, the number of small meth labs discovered by law enforcement decreased in all counties between 50-80%, depending on the county. However, there has been no decline in the availability of meth because of increased importation of higher purity Mexican meth which has flooded the Texas market despite millions in boosted border enforcement.

In addition, while large retailers largely are complying with the law, many smaller retailers do not and DPS suggests a public education campaign among them to increase compliance with the law.

Rep. Lon Burnam pointed out that Texas' strategy seemed to ignore the demand side of the equation, and rightly suggested more focus be placed on funding drug treatment. Not only did HB 164 fail to provide treatment for meth addicts, treatment for all low-level drug users in Texas state jails was discontinued in 2005 for lack of funds.

Still, according to the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, meth-related entries into drug treatment increased from 1,821 in 2000 to 11,238 in 2004, said the interim report. In a state with 20+ million people, that's still a drop in the bucket compared to the need.

I opposed HB 164 in 2005. I'm glad the number of meth labs has declined, but I sure wish somebody was keeping track of the kids taken from their parents as a result of this statute, and that state officials would focus resources on treatments for meth addiction instead of ever-more prison time for more people.

3 comments:

Catonya said...

Scott-

There was an excellent documentary on A&E last night, "Meth in the City". Interviewed were recovering addicts, criminal justice officials, and treatment specialists who advocate rehab over prison. They discussed reasonable expectations for beating the addiction stating most addicts enter treatment 2 times before it works. The real effects of meth were presented rather than the exaggerated political rhetoric and posters of toothless addicts. Great coverage on several other points - long overdue.

It isn't scheduled to re-air, but I saved it with DVR. Be happy to send you a DVD burn if you want -just shoot me an email.

Cat

Rusty said...

catonya,

Excellent, nothing like a little truth to ruin the false propaganda being used to further the goals of those ADDICTED to this CASH COW called the War on Drugs!

Scott,

Due to the demonizing of those who let their choices get the better of them, as well as the bigoted agendas of those self proclaimed righteous ones. NOTHING ELSE matters, as long as their perception of how Americans should live their lives IS FORCED ON EVERYBODY!!! We see the needless deaths of infants to our elderly, and MILLIONS of lives ruined in the name OF THEIR SO CALLED JUSTICE! What makes you think they care what happens to the kids, as long as they are no longer in the hands of those DEMONS who gave birth to them! Don't you know only the self righteous are capable of living correctly and loving their children! And as long as they can go to their homes and churches with that warm fussy feeling of knowing they were able to force their beliefs on others REGARDLESS if it goes against their faith or our countries supposed beliefs, THEY DON'T GIVE A DAMN!!!

The Myths - www.DrugWarDistortions.org
The Facts - www.DrugWarFacts.org
Weekly Updates- www.drcnet@drcnet.org
Wrongful Deaths - http://blogs.salon.com/0002762/stories/2003/08/17/drugWarVictims.html
Informational- http://www.fwweekly.com/content.asp?article=3271

There Has To Be A Better Way!!

Dont Be Denied said...

My little infant cousin, 15 months old, is being placed in an illegal adoption in Texas because of this new law. At least, they are trying! CPS and CASA even investigated our house and did a home evaluation in Collin County, pretending they would place her with me. In truth, they only wanted information. I had to hire my own lawyer to do a Motion to Intervene, and the district attorney is trying to deny my motion, due to the BRAND NEW meht laws. Addicts need family support, and their children should be placed in safe kinship options. THe state can't aford to take in thousands of children. Problem was, I made the CPS call to get my cousin, because her mother was in jail for 10 years and a meth friend tried to keep her. Now, I jest need praryers...and a LOT of lawyers. If you know anyone who is interested in helping fight this law, please contact me at annieo153@hotmail.com