Maine is seeing an upsurge in the number of kids needing foster care because of their parents’ involvement in synthetic drugs, particularly bath salts.
The mbpn.net reports that the state has transferred $1 million in unspent funds to the office of child and family services to cover the needs of 200 children whose parents are abusing bath salts.
During the recent Legislature’s Appropriations Committee meeting, Therese Cahill-Low, the director of the Office of Child and Family Services, said there are more children in the state’s foster care program today compared to eleven months ago.
“The reasoning for that, as I talk with staff, is that they are seeing severe, severe neglect on behalf of parents who are particularly involved in substances – particularly finding in the Bangor area, bath salts,” Cahill-Low said. “The effect of that substance has been detrimental to families.”
Officials at Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) were using the unspent funds to cover the unexpected cost of the program, but lawmakers reckon that the state’s foster care cost will increase as families disintegrate in the aftermath of a bath salts epidemic.
Cahill-Low said she is working with Maine’s Office of Substance Abuse to find out how state agencies can better respond to the problems that bath salts drug abuse is creating in the state.
“The problem with bath salts is that when people are taking bath salts they are incredibly unpredictable, and the long-term effects are unknown,” Cahill-Low added. “And so treatment is really kind of an unknown, I believe, at this point as to how to treat that kind of addiction, and whether or not these people are actually ready to be treated.”