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Name: In re Alexzander C.
Case #: B282183
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 11/29/2017

Minors were at risk of substantial harm due to father’s use of methamphetamine. Father challenged a trial court’s jurisdictional findings for lack of substantial evidence, arguing that although he used methamphetamine, he did not “abuse” it, and parents’ use of methamphetamine was not linked to a risk of harm to the minors. The appellate court rejected the argument and affirmed. Under the criteria outlined in Drake M. and Christopher R., substance abuse can be defined by a failure to fulfill major life obligations, recurrent use of drugs in hazardous situations, legal problems stemming from drug use, or social problems exacerbated by drugs. Cravings and urges to use the substance, recovering from using, recovering from substance use, and not managing tasks are also factors to be considered. Here, under that criteria, substantial evidence supported a finding that father had a methamphetamine abuse disorder. He had cravings and urges to use methamphetamine. He admitted he was addicted and could not stop. He had used continuously for more than 25 years. The amount of drugs used was increasing, and had been four times a day. Further, the drug use resulted in legal problems, namely the dependency action. Father was unable to stop using despite the threat that his children would be removed. The threat of harm to the minors was supported by the fact that the parents set the wrong example and sent a message to the minors that methamphetamine use did not present a problem. The appellate court also found that the removal order was supported by substantial evidence. In addition to the evidence supporting the jurisdictional finding or risk of harm, neither parent had begun a treatment program or complied with court orders at the time of the disposition hearing.