Grandparents face P fears

By Kathryn Powley

Distraught families see kids exposed to drug.

Bottle containing acetone (used in the manufacture of P) in close proximity to container used to store lids and teats from baby bottles. Photo / Supplied
Bottle containing acetone (used in the manufacture of P) in close proximity to container used to store lids and teats from baby bottles. Photo / Supplied

Grandparents have spoken out at the anguish of their grandchildren being "orphaned" by methamphetamine.

Three grandmothers, who cannot be identified to protect the children, told the Herald on Sunday urgent action was needed to protect kids. All three have grandchildren still living with parents they know or suspect of using the drug, but feel powerless to intervene.

The Herald on Sunday reported last week police found 384 kids in P labs between 2006 and 2010. Convictions for neglect or abuse of children were obtained for only 19 of those cases.

This week it was reported a P addict, whose 3-year-old son was found with methamphetamine in his hair, has had her conviction for wilful neglect overturned by the Court of Appeal. The court ruled the woman, who has name suppression, did not knowingly put her son in harm's way because she said she put him in a separate room when she smoked P.

Researcher Chloe Barker, who analysed police files, is calling for intervention for children of methamphetamine users.

Grandmother One is in her early 60s. Two years ago police busted her 30-year-old daughter's house - charging her, her partner and members of his extended family with making P at the property. The couple's 1-year-old boy was home at the time.

Child Youth and Family (CYF) asked the father's sister to look after him but the parents were bailed and returned to the house with the baby.

Grandmother Two, also in her early-60s, discovered her 10-month-old grandson sitting in a box, surrounded by drug debris, beside his mother's passed-out boyfriend. The woman, an experienced social worker, notified CYF. "It was probably the hardest thing I have had to do. He was 13 months when I took him, and he went back when he was 3." By then the mother was clean, and her partner was convicted of making P.

Grandmother Three, in her 50s, is legal guardian to three of her daughter's children aged 6, 5 and 3. Two younger children live with their parents, whom she believes are still involved with P.

"Both parents are addicts," she said.

CYF said it didn't comment on cases.

- Herald on Sunday

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