Welcome to the children of the ‘meth’ generation

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The first generation of children exposed to methamphetamine in the womb are reaching school age and filtering into Hawke’s Bay classrooms, putting pressure on resources and raising serious questions for our communities.

Behaviour at Hawke’s Bay schools supports findings of a New Zealand study showing children exposed to the drug prenatally lagged behind their peers developmentally and were not “school ready”.

The problem could even be worse in Hawke’s Bay because of a combination of social factors that lead to increased use of drugs such as “P”.

Nelson Park School principal Nevan Bridge said the Marewa school reflected society and the number of children requiring extra support was increasing.

“We can’t really quantify it, but what I can say is [the number of] children with specific needs are growing and the things we are dealing with are new.

“We see more and more of these children, and you can’t say these three are and these aren’t, but what I can say is there has been a significant number of children who are violent or anti-social, children who can’t focus or concentrate for any length of time.”

Auckland University senior lecturer Trecia Wouldes has been studying a group of 110 Auckland women who used methamphetamine while pregnant.

Dr Wouldes said it was difficult to determine the exact influence of methamphetamine as all the mothers were using a cocktail of drugs, including cannabis, alcohol and cigarettes.

However, the children were starting to reach school age and preliminary results showed all of the characteristics Mr Bridge sees in his classrooms. Read more

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News category: Features.

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