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News (Media Awareness Project) - New Zealand: Editorial: Sickening Statistics
Title:New Zealand: Editorial: Sickening Statistics
Published On:2011-11-22
Source:Marlborough Express (New Zealand)
Fetched On:2011-11-23 06:02:18

New research about the effects of women using methamphetamine while
they are pregnant is horrifying, but more because of the minor detail
than the headline results.

The research by Auckland University of 120 women shows the first
generation of New Zealand babies exposed to methamphetamine (also
known as P or meth) in the womb are reaching school age, and are more
affected than babies in the United States, where the drug is usually
less pure than the form available here. The result is worrying.

The 120 young mums came from Auckland and Waitakere, but many
referred by midwives and neo-natal carers were ruled out because they
were too young or were using too many other drugs.

Research co-leader Dr Trecia Wouldes said it was almost impossible to
gauge the prevalence of meth use during pregnancy, although one
indicator was the difficulty finding young mothers not using some
form of recreational drug. "In young mothers, 17 and 18, without NCEA
qualifications, we couldn't find! ... mothers who didn't use meth,"
she said. "Every time we'd find a mother who didn't have NCEA, she'd
be using meth."Horrifying. The children of these "children" are
turning up at primary schools with signs of learning and
developmental problems, although Dr Wouldes was reluctant to blame
this on just meth. The education system can expect a great many more
children affected by drugs.

Schools in regions such as Marlborough are much less likely to face
these problems than centres such as Auckland, but the resources
needed to cope with the problem will be a drain on the budget
nationally. There is only so much the Government can do to clamp down
on the import and manufacture of recreational drugs, particularly
meth. The harder they try and the more successful they are, the more
resourceful the offenders become.

The price goes up, so the most needy children get even less care. It
is utterly sickening that anyone who becomes pregnant cares so little
about their unborn child! that they continue to abuse drugs.

Perhaps it is time for authorities to consider the rights of the
child over the parent's freedom of choice.

Scary, but necessary.
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