YOUR KIDS OR YOUR ADDICTION; EXCLUSIVE Expert calls for ultimatum to junkies.
A TOP Scottish drugs expert yesterday called for addict parents to face the threat: "Give up your habit or give up your children."
Prof Neil McKeganey said they should be forced to make the choice - as the theory that kids are always better off with their mums and dads is folly.
He declared: "If that is true, it means we cannot provide a better environment for these children than one with chaotic, neglecting parents."
Prof McKeganey, head of the drug misuse research unit at Glasgow University, is one of a growing band demanding drastic action in addict homes.
He stressed: "The simple truth is that drug addicts make awful parents ... and children in these households are at risk.
"Parents who have a daily desperate need, who will do anything to secure drugs, are not the people to provide the security, safety and care children require.
"Drug addict parents will always tell you that they love their children.
"But loving is not the same thing as keeping children safe, fed, warm and clothed, taking them to school, helping them with homework or imbuing them with a sense of right and wrong."
Prof McKeganey will today be at the annual Child Protection Conference on Substance Misuse at Edinburgh's Napier University.
Pointing out that a girl of 11 collapsed at school after taking heroin this year, he said children of addicts are exposed to chaos, criminality and violence, have relationship difficulties in "empty" adult life and greatly risk becoming junkies themselves.
So Prof McKeganey - whose department reckons there are at least 50,000 children in Scotland with addict parents and 350,000 in the UK - said it was inevitable that contraception be considered.
MSP Duncan McNeil caused a recent furore by suggesting women addicts should be given contraceptives in their methadone.
But since then ex-health minister Susan Deacon has called for addict mothers to be offered contraceptive implants. And First Minister Jack McConnell has backed new rules for kids of drug addicts to go into care. The moves follow December's death of toddler Derek Doran after he swallowed methadone. The two-year-old's mother Lisa, 25, and father Derek, 21, of Tranent, East Lothian, are in custody charged with his murder and appeared in private for a judicial examination at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday.
INJECTING: Too often seen by kids' CHOICE: Prof McKeganey
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Jun 2, 2006|
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