Methamphetamine in Schuyler County: Arrests skyrocket and children at risk

Opioids and heroin dominate most of the headlines because of the number of fatal overdoses.

However, the use of methamphetamine continues to rise throughout the Southern Tier.

It is not just drug users who have to pay the price, it is the children too.

Niki and Adrian Turnmyre live in Schuyler County with their two children now. Pregnancy did not come easy for the couple.

"When we first got together, it was one of the first conversations we had, we weren't able to have children of our own," Adrian said.

Niki and Adrian became foster parents with the goal of adoption, and received a phone call that would forever change their lives.

"We got a call the day our son was born, asking if we would be willing to take a newborn and his 14-month-old baby sister," Niki said.

However, there was one unexpected turn.

"They had said the newborn has been born meth positive," Niki said. "He had traces of methamphetamine when he was born."

Despite the positive drug test, the babies were returned to their biological parents with stipulations.

"The safety plan was black and white," Niki said. "Keep the kids from drugs and alcohol, it should not have been hard for the normal person:"

Only 6 weeks later, they received another phone call.

"Remember those kids we called you about? Can you take them?" Niki said.

"It was the day after my birthday, it was the best gift I could have ever received," Adrian said.

When the Turnmyre's went to pick the kids up, they saw the affects the drug had on the newborn.

"He was extremely malnourished, his skin was ashen, there was nothing to him," Adrian said.

"He was just over 8 lbs. at 6 weeks of age," Niki said. "There are newborns that weigh 8 lbs."

Niki and Adrian say they celebrate adoption day like they do birthdays, a day they call "gotchya day."

"We don't know if they totally know what that means, they're 5 and 4," Niki said.  They don't necessarily know what that means, but in time they will. But they're proud of it."

In Schuyler County there has been a significant increase in methamphetamine cases.

In 2015, there were 6 arrests, according to Joseph Fazzary, Schuyler County District Attorney. In 2016, there were 48 arrests. So far in 2017, there have been 9 arrests.

"This is a drug you can manufacture in the woods, in your car, in your home, in the trailer," Fazzary said.

Schuyler Counties rural land makes it the perfect place for any addict or seller.

"A huge issue here is that it is so rural that you can cook it out in the middle of nowhere," Fazzary said. "We've found labs on the side of the highway."

An unfortunate place though for children.

"We recently tried a defendant selling methamphetamine to a police officer," Fazzary said. "And the story that was brought out in trial is that the defendant had invited in the confidential informant into his bedroom. There was a child sleeping on the bed, and the defendant physically moved the child to get the drugs from underneath the bed, in order to sell them to the informant and the police officer."

Arrests that continue to grow, and put children in harms way.

"If you can't do it, and you are putting your kids at risk, find somebody that can," Niki said. "It's a hard thing. It's was not easy or the biological parents of our kids, it was not easy."



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