ASSOCIATE Judge Kenneth Govendo says he knows of at least two babies who were born to mothers addicted to methamphetamine or “ice.”
One of the speakers at the 2017 Parent Development Workshop recently organized by the Division of Youth Services as part of the annual observance of National Parent Leadership Month, Judge Govendo said one of the babies was born in December and the other in January.
This is a serious concern for the community, he said.
“What can we do about it? I say education. It will always be education and it has to start at home,” Judge Govendo said.
“Education is the main prevention, and the first level is at home, the second is at school and the third is at church.”
He said ice addiction continues to be an epidemic in the community and some of those addicted to ice “just don’t want to admit it, and they keep on denying it because they can’t get off it anymore.”
He added, “This drug is so difficult to get off. You could be using meth as a young girl and you get pregnant. You’re still addicted to it even if you have something growing inside your womb.”
He reiterated that “it’s important that education start at home — you have a daughter who is addicted to meth and she’s pregnant, so as a parent you better start talking to her and tell her to stop otherwise it will affect the baby inside her. We don’t know the extent of the damage it can do to the baby. Whether the baby is developing normally or not, we don’t know and it should worry us.”
The CNMI’s primary Family Court judge, Govendo said if a particular case comes to his court for wardship of a child, he will not let a mother be reunited with her child if he knows she is a drug addict.
“The whole purpose of wardship is to reunite the family — in other words, get the mother back with her child. But if she tests positive for meth, I am not letting her reunite with that child.”