16-Month-Old Boy Ingests Drugs Left By Mother Passed Out From Overdose, Police Say

February 5, 2019 Updated: February 5, 2019

A 16-month-old boy was hospitalized and treated with Narcan after ingesting drugs left behind by his mother, according to police.

Police said the father of the boy returned home from work at around 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 4. and found the boy’s mother, 36, passed out on the bed. The toddler was also on the bed with several empty baggies—used to package heroin—that appeared to be chewed on.

According to Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood, the toddler was having trouble breathing and lost consciousness. He was then rushed to Delaware County Memorial Hospital and was given Narcan intravenously, reported KYW Newsradio. He was subsequently transferred to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where he is in guarded condition.

The parents of the 16-month-old admitted to being heroin users, according to Chitwood. He told the radio station that the father, 43, had shot up five bags of fentanyl the night before. In addition, 12 empty bags were found at the house where they lived.

Police told CBS Philly that they believe the toddler obtained the baggies from the trash can.

Chitwood added that the mother is expected to be charged with endangering the welfare of a child, reckless endangerment, and drug offenses.

“In my opinion, when children get into mom and dad or guardian’s habits, and those habits are drug addiction, then why should the poor child suffer? They are putting that baby in harm’s way, they are putting that baby at great human danger and they deserve to be punished the way the law can punish them,” Chitwood told the news station.

The investigation is still continuing. The mother appeared to be alive after her overdose, according to reports.

Opioid Crisis

In a similar incident, a couple in Michigan was charged after their 18-month-old daughter died of a drug overdosed on Christmas day.

The Macomb County Medical Examiner’s Office told police that the girl had an “extraordinary level of the narcotic Fentanyl in her system at the time of death,” according to a news release cited by the Detroit Free Press. She had ingested up to 15 times the dose of fentanyl that authorities have seen in the past 30 overdose deaths in Macomb County, according to prosecutors. The dose was enough to kill several adults.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), more than 130 people in the United States die of an opioid overdose each day, while the cost of prescription opioid misuse in the country is $78.5 billion a year. This includes the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.

According to a new report by the National Safety Council (NSC), Americans have a 1 in 96 chance of dying from an opioid overdose, while the probability of dying in a motor vehicle accident is 1 in 103. The council’s analysis is based on 2017 mortality data by the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“The nation’s opioid crisis is fueling the Council’s grim probabilities, and that crisis is worsening with an influx of illicit fentanyl,” the NSC said in a statement on Jan. 14.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid pain reliever 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, surpassed heroin to become the most common drug linked to an overdose death in 2016, according to the CDC (pdf). Two milligrams of fentanyl is a lethal dose for a non-opioid user.

Its discovery in the late 1970s as a powerful alleviator of chronic pain led to a dramatic increase in sales and prescriptions. The drug’s sales increased about 10-fold in the first year (1981) after the drug’s initial patent wore off, and in 2004, sales exceeded $2.4 billion in the United States, according to a study published in the Journal of Pain.

Back in October 2017, President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency. The Senate subsequently passed a bill that received bipartisan support to combat the crisis.

The law includes a number of initiatives to advance recovery and treatment, and to prevent drugs from getting into people’s hands in the first place. It also includes research into non-opioid alternatives for the treatment of pain.

“While there is still much work to be done, this historic effort will undoubtedly save lives and put families and communities across our country on the road to recovery,” Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), a sponsor of the act, said at the time.

If you or someone you know needs help for opioid addiction, call the national helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or find resources online at SAMHSA.gov

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