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Girl, 4, Hospitalized with methadone overdose

By SamanthaRabbit, Oct 9, 2010 | Updated: Oct 10, 2010 | | |
  1. SamanthaRabbit
    Methadone given to help tot sleep, police report

    A 4-year-old South Side girl was extremely critical last night after she was given methadone to help her sleep, police said.

    The girl was at Nationwide Children's Hospital in life-threatening condition, but she was "hanging in there," said Columbus police Sgt. Eric Pilya.

    Columbus police didn't release the child's name last night and said no one has been charged.

    Columbus Fire paramedics were called to 520 Hinman Ave. around 2 p.m. yesterday because the child had gone into cardiac arrest, Pilya said.

    The person who provided the methadone - a synthetic drug commonly used to help heroin addicts with withdrawal - was a family friend visiting from out of town.

    The girl was sick and having trouble sleeping, the family told police.

    The woman, who is 53 and from the Bronx, N.Y., suggested that methadone might help and gave the drug to the child, police said.

    Police were interviewing the mother and the woman who provided the methadone last night.

    The woman who provided the methadone has her name and prescription on the bottle. She has been cooperative, Pilya said.

    Police were searching the South Side house to recover evidence last night.

    Rebecca Alvarez, who lives across the street, watched while police officers and detectives went in and out of the house.

    "I hope she makes it because she's a sweet little girl," Alvarez said.

    Saturday, October 9, 2010 02:56 AM



  1. Moving Pictures
    How fucking stupid does someone have to be to think that giving a toddler methadone for sleep is a good idea? This is absolutley disgusting. For a child that size, a safe dose of methadone would be in the microgram range, impossible to give from a prescription pill. I hope this women is thrown in jail for a long time. I also pray that the child will make it. And if this women gave the child the drugs with the parents' consent, they should be jailed as well.
  2. SamanthaRabbit
    I shared this because of the upmost ridiculousness of the situation. This "house guest" virtually poisoned this child, and all of the adults involved should be jailed. The irresponsibility makes me sick. I am keeping this little girl in my prayers, and also hoping that these people are locked up for a long time.
  3. mickey_bee
    I've got to diasagree almost completely with the opinions of the above posters........

    YES, this was an utterly stupid, and extremely irresponsible thing to do. However, the intention was not to harm the child in anyway, - rather it was to alleviate the childs suffering. Although I, and most other people with any knowledge of methadone would never dream of giving a dose to a child, there are people out there who are prescribed this drug, without posessing even the faintest knowledge of what it can do.

    I find it impossible to advocate the punishment of this woman, as despite causing harm, it was entirely accidental, risen from an attempt to help the child. If this child doesn't pull through, the knowledge that it was her actions which caused death will be punishment enough - no prison term can upstage that.
  4. SamanthaRabbit
    Is accidental endangering not endangering?! Methadone is a very heavy duty drug and to say the least I think that whomever had the prescription, at least, WOULD HAVE KNOWN IT WAS A HARD DRUG. There are only a few reasons why I know of that methadone would be prescribed, and anyone who is on that medication knows that it does more than just Children's Tylonal. Also, the parents of the four year old girl should have known that she probably shouldn't take anything without set doses for their child.

    Overall, I think that there had to of been some pretty interesting circumstances if the adults involved were completely clueless to the fact that this was a heavy duty prescription that could be potentially fatal for a child that small and young...
  5. mickey_bee
    It is clear from her actions that she didn't know the full power and danger of methadone. Arguing otherwise would be suggesting that this woman deliberately set out to cause the child harm.

    It seems very clear from the article that she set out to help the child. From personal experience, swim himself has been absolutely amazed at the lack of knowledge amongst methadone/buprenorphine patients. Street myths are still incredibly prominent amongst many patients.

    The fundamental issue here, is that this wasn't intentional harm. The adults involved were trying to help the child in the way they thought best. Unfortunately, they didn't know enough about the drug, which says alot about the lack of information many MMT patients are afforded. It was an accident risen out of the desire to help the child.
  6. SamanthaRabbit
    I do see that the people involved were in fact trying to help the child, but due to the seriousness of the matter I am having a hard time seeing past how something like this could happen. When it comes to prescriptions that aren't taken as prescribed, if things go terribly wrong, like in this situation, I would view it as endangerment of the child, accident or not. I mean, to say doctors don't always give out all of the needed information about medications is fair, but all of the pharmacies I have gone to do give out a printout of every medication filled. Also, aren't there legal issues as is with using a prescription not as prescribed by a physician?? Overall, this is a very unfortunate story and it could have easily been avoided with a trip to the store to get children's strength medication.
  7. Moving Pictures
    It doesn't matter if one's intent was to commit harm or not. The girl was seriously injured (any update, samrabbit?). This women knew that methadone was a strong pain killer and at least that it gets you "high". Maybe she didn't fully understand the overdose risk, but that's no excuse. Anytime one is prescribed hard medication like that, the patient info you get at the pharmacy when you get it filled says do not share this medication with others. It's common sense. Regardless of what this person's intentions may have been, she should have known better. She certainly commited crimes (indangering the welfare of a child, providing drugs to a minor, there's more I'm sure) so why shouldn't she suffer the consequences? She put the child's life at risk and I don't see how it's possible for anyone that's ever taken methadone before to not know, to at least some extent, how dangerous it is. Also, this women had to have had experience with opiates before. She was either on it for addiction or pain. Methadone is never the first line of treatment for pain. So either way, she's had experience with opiates and knows at least something of how dangerous they are.

    Saying that is like saying a drunk driver that hits and kill someone has been punished enough by having to live with what happened. That's rediculous. There are legal ramifications to acts of stupidity. It simply does not matter what ones intents were. The outcome of their actions are all that matters once the shit hits the fan. I'm sure this woman did not intened to hurt the child, but so what? The child was hurt. That's the facts. Drunk drivers don't intened to kill anyone but it happens. Do you think they should be let off the hook? People must take responsibility for their actions. What do they say, ignorance of the law is no excuse? This woman may have thought she wasn't doing harm but it doesn't matter. She did do harm.
  8. mickey_bee
    MovingPictures - Intent DOES matter. It's one of the biggest determining factors in the outcome of all court cases. The suspects' intent is at the heart of every case. Accidental poinsoning is a different crime to intentional poisoning.

    The comparison to a drunk-driver is also facile. A drunk driver is doing something that is widely known to be illegal, and is knowingly endangering lives, for personal gain, - be that enjoyment or convenience.
    In this case, the woman stood to gain nothing. Her actions were in attempt to help the child, and it is obvious by her actions that she did not know the danger of what she was doing.

    They are two completely different things. This is an accident.

    And yes, they do say, 'ignorance is no excuse'. As they have to, as if not, everyone would plead ignorance when charged.

    All I'm saying is that in my view, this is simply a tragic accident. There was no malice. Yes, she should have known better, but she didn't. In my opinion, due to these facts, the best possible thing for all involved, (including the taxpayer), would be for the family to be allowed to return to normal.

    What should be highlighted from this case is the widespread lack of knowledge of patients about methadone and other opiates. Many of swim's friends who are prescribed methadone know nothing of it's dangers, regarding it as safe as it's been legally prescribed by a doctor, and as, 'it doesn't do anything for me'.
    This lesson should be learnt and methadone and other heroin-substitute patients should be given much more thorough teaching on the dangers of the drug.

    Unlike a normal prescription that you'd pick up at the pharmacists, that comes with packaging and a booklet full of important information, heroin-substitute patients just receive their drug, e.g.- a bottle of methadone. No safety information, no warnings.
    In the consultations prior to starting on these drugs, patients are told very little or sometimes nothing of their dangers.
    This is the case in the UK anyway. Swim believes it's due to a general apathy amongst addiction treatment staff due to poor funding/training, and the generally depressing job, aswell as the fact that patients always start out on supervised dosing, requiring little need for them to know safety information. However, almost all of these patients later move on to pharmacy dosing and take-home dosing, yet still with a complete lack of knowledge of the drug.

    That's my point, and if you disagree then you disagree.
  9. Moving Pictures
    I agree that methadone (all opiate patients) need to be more informed of the dangers of their medicines. Also, the fact that she had a prescription bottle of methadone makes me think she was a pain patient, not an addict. In America, it is common, increasingly so, for people to get methadone for pain. So it's my thinking she had medicine info that came with the bottle that warned of the danger. If she was on it for addiction, then she should have had an even better knowledge how dangerous opiates are. I disagree that she shouldn't be punished though. But that's the great thing about the net, everyone can express their opinions. Thanks for typing such a well written rebuttal to my comment.
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