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J Pediatr. 2011 Nov;159(5):766-770.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2011.05.044. Epub 2011 Jul 23.

Examining the health and drug exposures among Canadian children residing in drug-producing homes.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



To examine the health and well-being of children residing in residences where drug production is occurring.


Starting in January 2006, children identified by police and the Children's Aids Society in the York region of Ontario, Canada, were referred to the Motherisk Program at the Hospital for Sick Children for pediatric assessment of their general health and well-being, with specific focus on illicit-drug exposure. We used a standard protocol to collect all available medical and environmental history, conducted physical and neurologic examinations, and collected hair for analysis of illicit drugs.


In total, 75 children, at the mean age of 6.5 years, were referred to us after being removed from homes where marijuana was grown (80%) or other operations linked to drug production were occurring (20%). Overall, rates of health issues in this cohort fell below reference values for Canadian children. Of the hair tests, 32% were positive for illicit substances. In the majority there were no clinical symptoms related to these drugs.


The majority of children removed from drug-producing homes were healthy and drug free. Comprehensive evaluations should be performed on a case-by-case basis in order to determine what is ultimately in the best interest of the child.

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