CARROLL COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - According to Carroll County Sheriff's Major Tobe Leazenby, a drug addict cares only about one thing: themselves.
"Once they're deeply involved with this drug, unfortunately, it's strictly about them and how they can get that extended high," Leazenby said.
And when an addict is only focused on themselves, their children can go unattended.
It is something Leazenby and the Indiana Department of Child Services have seen too much of over the last ten years, since methamphetamine has grown in popularity.
Now, DCS and law enforcement in Carroll and White counties want the community to know how they can spot child neglect.
Since January 2012 17, meth labs have been discovered in the two counties.
According to DCS Regional Director Angela Smith-Grossman, meth plays a role in about 40 percent of child neglect cases in White and Carroll counties.
"It's often a culture of manufacturing," Smith-Grossman said. "You often find couples that are using as opposed to one individual that is using. Or, you find a culture of friends that might be a part of that use. So, there aren't any protective adults that are minding children."
The constant drug use can deprive children of basic supervision.
"Depending on the age of the child that's going to look different," Smith-Grossman said. "If your child is eight or nine that supervision may end up being that there is a lack of attendance to school, or the child goes to school ill-prepared, or dirty or late."
It's not just meth law enforcement officers are cracking down on. They have noticed other drug trends they all say contribute to child neglect.
"[There is] involvement with heroin in the area, synthetic marijuana and synthetic drugs," Leazenby said. "We still have issues with prescription medication."
If you suspect child neglect call law enforcement to investigate, call 911 or the child abuse and neglect hotline at (800) 800-5556.
Other signs of child neglect and/or meth use include:
- Odors - Strange chemical smells coming from the house.
- Poor hygiene - Child always seems to have disheveled hair, dirty clothes, body odor.
- Lack of supervision - Very young children exposed to dangerous objects or situations.
- Poor health care - Child lacks needed medical/dental care, immunizations, eye glasses.
- Caregiver duties - Child is taking care of younger siblings or even parents.
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