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Medical Protocols for Children Found at Methamphetamine Lab Sites

NCJ Number
Date Published
4 pages
This document is a guide for managing the health issues of children that are found at a methamphetamine lab site at the time of an investigation.
Any child found in an environment where methamphetamine is made or used is at risk for toxicity. Children with symptoms consistent with methamphetamine exposure or ingestion must have an emergency medical evaluation as soon as possible. Children found in these settings may also be at risk for various types of abuse or neglect, which should be addressed in a medical as well as social services evaluation. The safety of the child must be considered when making a judgment about the need for an acute assessment. The field medical assessment is done to determine whether children discovered at the scene of a methamphetamine laboratory seizure are in need of emergency medical care. The assessment must be done by a medically trained person. If no medical personnel are available on-site, ambulance personnel should be summoned to complete the assessment within 2 hours of discovering children at a methamphetamine lab site. The purpose of immediate care evaluation (within 12 hours) is to address problems requiring care that cannot wait 24 hours to be treated at the baseline exam. Immediate care should be provided as soon as possible after significant health problems or risks are identified in the child. If drug toxicity due to methamphetamine exposure is suspected, these children should be preferentially seen in a hospital emergency department. All children, birth to age 18 years, that are found at meth lab sites, should have a baseline assessment within 24 to 48 hours as well as follow-up assessments at 30 days and 12 months. Children found in this environment should be considered at risk and the evaluation and follow-up are intended to assure attention to possible toxic exposure as well as identify and treat other health and welfare concerns. For children living in direct contact with a methamphetamine lab, long-term follow-up with re-checks at 30 days and 1 year is recommended.