The role of child protection in cannabis grow-operations

Int J Drug Policy. 2013 Sep;24(5):445-8. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2013.01.003. Epub 2013 Mar 1.


Background: This unique social work research examined the rationale for child protection interventions with families found living in illegal cannabis grow operations, based on the assumption of risk in the presence of probable medical harm.

Methods: The study examined the household, family and individual characteristics of 181 children found living in cannabis grow operations in two regions in British Columbia, Canada. Data was collected on-site on the physical characteristics of the homes, the health characteristics of the children, and their prescription drug history. Comparison of prescription drug use was also made with a group of children from the same geographic areas.

Results: This study found that there was no significant difference between the health of the children living in cannabis grow operations and the comparison group of children, based on their prescription history and their reported health at the time.

Conclusion: The findings of this study challenge contemporary child welfare approaches and have implications for both child protection social workers and the policymakers who develop frameworks for practice.

Keywords: Cannabis; Child health; Child welfare; Grow-operation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Agriculture
  • British Columbia
  • Canada
  • Cannabis / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Child Welfare*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Databases, Pharmaceutical
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Prescription Drugs


  • Prescription Drugs