As if meth wasn't heinous enough by itself, a new study is showing that the drug has lasting effects on children whose mothers use it during pregnancy. While this certainly doesn't come as a surprise—given how much meth messes up adult brains—it's nevertheless disturbing. Earlier research found that meth babies, like crack babies, are born smaller and are prone to being sleepy and stressed. This new study found behavior differences—higher levels of anxiety, depression, and moodiness—in meth children ages three to five. While the differences weren't massive, lead researcher Linda LaGasse called them "very worrisome."
It's not yet know whether these problems will stay with the children through adulthood, but LaGasse said methamphetamine has a stronger effect on the brain, so it may be more damaging in the long run than crack use is. (Long-term studies have given conflicting results about whether cocaine exposure leads to lasting behavior problems in children.) Hopefully meth use will magically disappear before more of these studies can be done, because the last thing this world needs is an epidemic of baby faces of meth.