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Drugs Lead to Ruination of Family Life – High Court Cautionary Tale

Drugs are a blight on society and a continual source of family breakdown. In a case that sadly proved the point, an otherwise polite and intelligent mother who could not break her dependence on narcotics had all of her four children either taken into care or freed for adoption.

The children ranged in age between their early teens and under five and all of them had different fathers. Their mother was 17 when she gave birth to her first child and her next two were affected by drug withdrawal symptoms on delivery. All of her relationships had been unstable, volatile and associated with drug taking and the High Court described the impact of drugs on her life as truly pitiful.

The paternal aunt of her youngest child had stepped forward as a potential carer for the little boy. But the Court noted that his father was a violent drug dealer with a catalogue of serious convictions on his record. In the circumstances, a placement with the aunt would be positively contrary to the boy’s welfare.

The mother accepted that she could not care for the children at present, but asked the Court to leave open the possibility of her mothering them in the future. The Court, however, ruled that the children's welfare demanded a permanent solution. A care order was made in respect of the oldest child and the other three were freed for adoption.

The Court noted that, although the mother loved her children dearly, her addiction to drugs had made it impossible for her to give them the care they needed. The case was a very clear example of the ruination to which drugs can lead.

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