"We, like other states, have a lot of drug issues," Darr said. "Prescription drugs are a serious problem and meth is on the rise again."
She said it was important to note that the program does not take the place of mandated reporting of children being abused or neglected. Information from each felony arrest where children are involved is entered into the secure database within seven days.
The program just allows an easy way to share information between officers and CPS workers, she said. Darr called it a way to share information "so kids don't fall through the cracks."
"We've always had drug endangered children, but when meth hit West Virginia really hard in 2004 it hit children hard, too," Darr said. "Before that they were just bystanders, but (the meth outbreak) turned them into victims.
"Kids do not choose their parents."
Baylous cited several recent incidents, including one in April in which an infant in Logan was kidnapped and dropped on railroad tracks. Investigators believe the suspect was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
A toddler in Belington died after in March after she was given illegally purchased methadone. Police charged both her mother and father earlier this month with death of a child by a parent.
"For several years, leaders within our State have been discussing and debating the prescription drug epidemic and illegal street drugs. As with any type of criminal activity, innocent people are negatively affected," State Police Superintendent Col. James Smithers said in a press release.
"In the case of prescription and illegal street drug abuse our children are the casualties, as they are often being neglected and abused by their parents or guardians."
Baylous said State Police officials hope the tracking system will be implemented statewide in the future.
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