Child Protective Services Essay
Child Protective Services
Ice users in the state of Hawaii, estimated to have reached 30,000 in 2003, were spending as much as $1. 8 billion every year to maintain their addiction in what has been referred to by U. S Attorney Ed Kubo as the “highest usage of ice in the country. ” (Sinq, 2003) Ice refers to methamphetamine, a strong, extremely addictive stimulant which could be introduced to the body by smoking, sniffing, oral ingestion, or injection and affects the nervous system. (Drug-Rehabs. org, n. d. )
The substance was believed to have been discovered in Japan sometime in 1919 and was actually used as a nasal decongestant in 1932. It was manufactured legally as non-medical tablets in the United States, taking the form of “dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) and methamphetamine (Methedrine). ” It rapidly became a favorite among athletes, university students, and even long distance truck drivers – people who need to stay alert for long periods of time. An injectable form was developed during the 1960s but was subjected to severe restriction under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970.
(Drug-Rehabs. org. n. d. ) Today, Prosecutor Peter Carlisle of Honolulu said that adult people in Hawaii have been turning to ice instead of alcohol – in fact the highest number of adult ice-users (by state) in the entire country is found in the state of Hawaii. In Honolulu, it was estimated that about 38% of all those arrested for various offenses have been found positive for methamphetamine. Moreover, while the average rate of sentenced methamphetamine traffickers for the entire country in 2001 was placed at 14%, the rate for Hawaii had been 51%.
(A Message from Honolulu Prosecutor Peter Carlisle, 2007) This only means one thing: ice trafficking in Hawaii has grown to be a very flourishing industry, which, to some people, indicates that ice abuse has already reached epidemic proportions in the state. As a matter of fact, recorded deaths attributed to methamphetamine use have also been steadily on the rise since 2000 when 34 persons were believed to have died from using the substance. In 2001, the number rose to 54 then climbed to 62 in 2002 before decreasing slightly to 56 deaths during the year 2003.
In 2004, ice-related deaths rose again to 68 and as of the middle of May 2005, there were already 38 ice-related deaths in the state of Hawaii. According to Dr. Kanthi De Alwis, Chief Medical Examiner of Honolulu, majority of deaths from ice were due to the substance’s effect on the human brain and heart. He said that ice weakens and enlarges the heart, and blocks the coronary arteries. In some of the cases, Alwis said, blood enters the brain, killing the ice user almost instantly. (Drug-Rehabs. org, 2005)
User death did not prove to be the only adverse effect of the ice epidemic on Hawaiian society. A much more damaging consequence had been its effect on children. In fact it was observed that although abuse of alcohol and illegal drugs also resulted to fractured families, ice addiction had proven to be more powerful and destructive, consuming “parents’ lives so quickly that experts placed it in a class of its own. ” (Dayton, 2003b) As of 2003, almost 85% of the 7,000 children who were under foster care were children of ice users.
Most of these children were traumatized. They also showed signs of being “angry” and were often destructive in their ways, aside from the fact that most of them lagged in their school work. Many of them have expressed their belief that their parents abandoned them either because something was very wrong with them, or their parents simply stopped loving them. If left unattended, experts feared that these children might end up as substance abusers themselves.
At the very least, they are expected to suffer from the long-term effects of living with constant violence and chaos in the family. This is what some health professionals are trying to prevent, according to Jack Maynor who works as a child counselor in a spouse-abuse shelter. (Dayton, 2003a) In many cases, children were separated from their parents because of the parents’ addiction to ice. Families where either or both parents are ice addicts are characterized by violence, child abandonment, or both.
Peggy Hilton of the East Hawai’i Child Welfare Services said that there are people who become totally addicted to methamphetamine in only a matter of a couple of weeks. She explained that ice is characterized by “extreme levels of domestic violence [and that] after a binge, ice users ‘crash’ and can sleep for days, leaving the children in the house to fend for themselves. ” According to officials of the Child Protective Services, they are separating up to forty children from their parents every month due to ice addiction in the Big Island alone. (Dayton, 2003b)
The effect of parents’ addiction to ice among Hawaiian children has been very extensive. Professionals working with children of methamphetamine abusers often talk about the depressing experiences of these children. James Jolliff, a clinical psychologist from Waimea, recalled working with a girl who found her ice addict father hanging from a tree in their backyard in an attempt to kill himself. He said that while her father was rescued from that suicide attempt, the girl was traumatized and would remain to be so for a long time to come. (Dayton, 2003a)