December 15, 2004 | By: Laura Skillman

Clandestine drug labs are a significant and growing problem in Kentucky. Many labs used to manufacture methamphetamine are inside homes, exposing children living there at risk. 

An alliance, announced today by University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr., will provide the tools needed to identify these at-risk children and to provide health care and developmental assistance.

Kentucky’s Alliance for Drug Endangered Children is a collaborative effort of UK’s College of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service’s Health Education through Extension Leadership (HEEL), College of Medicine, College of Social Work, College of Public Health, College of Law, and College of Pharmacy, and College of Dentistry in partnership with many agencies across the state.

“The alliance exemplifies our continued commitment to make Kentucky healthier by forging partnerships that ensure the best information is available to all,” Todd said. “Through this partnership, this group of dedicated individuals focusing on community health and safety will build the capacity for Kentucky’s drug-endangered children to be identified and protected.”

According to Kentucky State Police statistics through Dec. 6 of this year, 66 children have been found living in one of the 515 meth labs discovered in Kentucky. It is believed that for every lab found, 10 to 15 labs are undiscovered.

“The drug-endangered child initiative is unique in its focus on children’s health issues,” said Holly Hopper, alliance chair and HEEL Extension associate for health. “The ability of professionals to treat these issues is only as good as the information we provide those charged with their care.”

Four training sessions will be conducted by national experts, including the author of the national medical protocol for drug-endangered children, a prosecutor, law enforcement officer, developmental specialist, and drug-endangered child investigator. The training will educate 1,200 law enforcement, social workers, health care providers, emergency responders, family resource center employees, victim’s advocates, community mental health care providers, prosecutors and community coalition members.

Educational resource materials will be provided by the HEEL program to educate communities on meth-identification on farms and in homes. In-state resources will also be shared including recommended practices for Children’s Emergency Medical Service by Kentucky Board of EMS/Children’s EMS, dental screening by UK Pediatric Dentistry, and Kentucky protocol for social workers.

Training is possible through a U.S. Office of Victims of Crime, COPS grant that supports the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children. The Division of Adult and Child Health Improvement in the Kentucky Department for Public Health will help identify children and community education efforts that are in line with the alliance’s mission. 

Registration for the training programs is from Dec. 15, 2004, through Feb. 4, 2005. Forms are available at: Training dates and locations are:

• Feb. 28-March 1, The Forum, Hazard, Ky. (101 Bulldog Lane, Hazard,) Site sponsors: 4-H, the City of Hazard Mayor’s Office, UK Agricultural Communications, UK Health Education through Extension Leadership Program

• March 3-4, Chrysalis House Community Center, Lexington, Ky. Site sponsors: Chrysalis House Community Center, UK Health Education through Extension Leadership Program

• March 5, University of Kentucky, special training for physicians (details forthcoming) Continuing education credits sponsored by AHEC and the UK Health Education through Extension Leadership Program

• March 7-8, The Executive Inn, Paducah, Ky. Site sponsors: Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force, Regional Prevention Center, and the Community Coalition Against Violence and Drugs

• March 10-11, University Plaza, Bowling Green, Ky. Site sponsors: Kentucky National Guard, Lifeskills Prevention Center, and Bowling Green Narcotics Task Force.



Writer: Laura Skillman  270-365-7541 ext. 278