Annual meeting talks about the affects of meth on children

Social agencies across Western-Central Illinois came together to learn about the effects of methamphetamine on children at the second annual All Our Kids Summit.

"Adams county was the number one county with the highest number of meth busts in the whole state of Illinois so its just something we continually deal with on a regular basis," Alison Ketsenburg, All Our Kids Coordinator, said.

Methamphetamine not only affects the ones using, but the unseen victims as well.

This year's theme at the All Our Kids Summit was the effect of methamphetamine on children.

"Oh absolutely it affects all areas, it affects them at school, at home life, peers, on into later life and their employment status later on," Jackie Bruns, Area Director for the Quincy Catholic Charities said.

More than a dozen agencies came together to learn how they can reduce the trauma the methamphetamine can have on youth.

Quincy Public Schools were one of the agencies present. They state they start looking at the children in early childhood classes. If they believe a child is being exposed to methamphetamine they do multiple home visits to determine if the child is in danger. They look outside and inside the house to look for meth-making materials.

Dr. Kate Sheridan, the keynote speaker, says the drug especially affects children in rural areas.

She says the lack of resources contributes to the problem.

"One would be the availability of treatment for methamphetamine and also because of the geographic location, so there are some counties in areas of the country that are in drug primary trafficking routes," Dr. Kate Sheridan, Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at Illinois State University said.

And Adams County is near one of those routes.

Dr. Sheridan says a way to help children is by making resources accessible and available.

"We tend to tap into resources of the other agencies that are here counseling services, alcohol abuse, get them connected with community support that type of thing," Bruns said.

They all agree that to break the downward cycle methamphetamine creates, you must show that you care.

Below are links to resources for those seeking help for the methamphetamine use:

Great River Recovery Resources Quincy Catholic Charities

All Our Kids

Illinois Attorney General

Adams County Health Department