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'Functional Meth Users' Lose Custody, Court Rules

Richard was a good father, except for one problem: he used meth four times a day.

Still, he pleaded with the court, he had held his job for 27 years, provided for his family, and ensured his children had healthy food, a clean home, and a good education. He just wanted them back together again.

Not good enough, the trial judge ruled. In re. Alexzander C., the California Second District Court of Appeal agreed.

Functional Meth User

It's hard to believe that the children -- ages 11, 14, and 18 -- never knew their parents were meth addicts. Entering their 50s, the couple had been using the drug since the kids were born.

Alina, the mother, said her mom introduced her to  meth. Alina said she abstained during her three pregnancies, but went back to the drug soon after to lose the weight.

Richard said they kept it away from the children -- never used needles; kept it in his wallet at all times.

The trial judge didn't buy it. There is no such thing as a "functional meth user." The Second District affirmed.

"Dangers of Addiction"

Although the children apparently were never subjected to the drug use, the appeals court said they had assimilated their parents' attitude about it. They were aware their mother had lost custody before, but did not recognize the dangers of addiction.

"Substantial evidence supports the juvenile court's finding that it was necessary to remove the children from Mother's and Father's custody to protect them from a substantial danger to their physical health, safety, or protection," the appeals panel said.

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