Increasingly, Oregon foster homes are being filled with what police and social workers call “meth orphans,” reports the Oregonian. They are the children of the epidemic, abused and neglected, taken from moms and dads who nurture only their addiction. They represent the human tragedy of meth. Growling stomachs. Rotting diapers. Bruises, burns and a lifetime of deep scars.
“Our society should be ashamed for allowing this kind of abuse and neglect of our children,” said Eugene vice and narcotics Sgt. Lee Thoming. “We’re going to pay down the road, when these kids get older.” Although methamphetamine has threatened the welfare of children in Oregon for 20 years, no comprehensive information on the problem exists. The Department of Human Services conducted its first statewide analysis last year, when 5,438 children entered state foster homes, up from 4,906 in 2003. Last year, roughly 2,750 children — more than half of all foster cases — were taken from parents using or making the potent drug, the study found. Welfare workers say meth is straining the child-welfare system.