My child’s other parent is doing meth. The other parent is addicted to methamphetamine and I’m concerned about my child’s safety. What do I do?

Methamphetamine, commonly known as speed, crank, shard, cystral, glass, is d-desoxymethylamphetamine. It’s highly addictive and can take hold of a person with one use. Users may pick at their skin causing sores and their teeth frequently rot away. The effects of meth on a user’s appearance is dramatic as show by these pictures.

Use of illegal drugs, including marijuana, is a problem for the parent using the illegal drug(s) even if used when he child(ren) are not with you because the drugs remain in the user’s system. How long the drug remains in your system depends.

Substance Typical Urine Detection Period
Amphetamine or methamphetamine            2–4 days
 Short-acting—Secobarbital 1–2 days
Long-acting—Pentobarbital 2–4 days
Phenobarbital 10–20 days
 Therapeutic dose 3–7 days
Chronic dosing Up to 30 days
Cocaine 1–3 days
Casual use 1–3 days
 Daily use 5–10 days
Chronic use Up to 30 days
Ethanol (alcohol) 12–24 hours
Opioids (e.g., codeine, morphine) 1–3 days
Methadone 2–4 days
Propoxyphene 6–48 hours
Ecstasy/euphorics 1–5 days
Acute use 2–7 days
Chronic use Up to 30 days

Since the illegal drugs remain in one’s system after use, the user’s impairment lasts beyond the time of use and frequently extends to the time when the parent exercises custodial care and control over the child. As such, the use of illegal drugs by a parent triggers the provisions for an “abused or neglected” child.

“Abused or neglected child” means a child whose health or welfare is harmed or threatened with harm when his or her parent, guardian, person in a position of authority or special trust, as defined in KRS 532.045, or other person exercising custodial control or supervision of the child engages in a pattern of conduct that renders the parent incapable of caring for the immediate and ongoing needs of the child including, but not limited to, parental incapacity due to a dysfunctional use of alcohol or other drugs or both (KRS 222.005), characterized by one (1) or more of the following patterns of use:

(a)  The continued use despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent social, legal, occupational, psychological, or physical problem that is caused or exacerbated by use of alcohol or other drugs or both;

(b)  Use in situations which are potentially physically hazardous;

(c)  Loss of control over the use of alcohol or other drugs or both; and

(d)  Use of alcohol or other drugs or both is accompanied by symptoms of physiological dependence, including pronounced withdrawal syndrome and tolerance of body tissues to alcohol or other drugs or both.

“Position of authority” means but is not limited to the position occupied by a biological parent, adoptive parent, stepparent, foster parent, relative, household member, adult youth leader, recreational staff, or volunteer who is an adult, adult athletic manager, adult coach, teacher, classified school employee, certified school employee, counselor, staff, or volunteer for either a residential treatment facility, a holding facility as defined in KRS 600.020, or a detention facility as defined in KRS 520.010(4), staff or volunteer with a youth services organization, religious leader, health-care provider, or employer.

“Position of special trust” means a position occupied by a person in a position of authority who by reason of that position is able to exercise undue influence over the minor.

As you can tell from the definitions, a custodial parent who uses illegal drugs may find himself or herself in trouble with Child Protective Services and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

You should contact an attorney to discuss your options. If you have reason to believe a child is a victim of abuse or neglect, immediately call the Kentucky Child Abuse Reporting Hotline at 1-800-752-6200. The number is answered 24-hours a day, seven days a week. If you cannot get through to this number for any reason, call your county’s Child Protective Services Office (in the Office for Health and Family Services), the local police, or the County or Commonwealth Attorneys’ Office.

Finding a Good Lawyer

One good way to find a lawyer is to check out their online recommendations, ask friends, acquaintances, or other lawyers and attorneys for referrals and then interview the candidates. You can call my office at 502-509-1490 to schedule a consultation to discuss your options or set an appointment here:

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If you’re facing divorce, custody, grandparent's rights, paternity, adoption, criminal charges, personal injury, or need deeds or wills prepared in or around Shepherdsville or Shelbyville or Taylorsville or Radcliff or Elizabethtown or Louisville, Kentucky, rely on our team at the Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates. We will fight aggressively to help you protect your rights with the goal of obtaining the most favorable outcome. Schedule an appointment here:



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