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Is Methadone Killing Kids?

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Searching the internet, you can find information on anything.  Being a mom in recovery, I browsed through endless recovery blogs.  I found all types of addiction blogs, blogs centered around Narcotics Anonymous, even how to stop using heroin cold turkey.  Being on methadone, I was trying to find blogs about methadone, good things about methadone maintenance.

Out of all of the information that I have found, there was an abundance of negativity.  It was one of the most horrible things I could imagine. Numerous blogs all shaming methadone, a magnitude of  Pinterest pins about overdosing on methadone, and the worse out of all of this was the abundance of articles and images about methadone killing kids.

Will Methadone Kill My Baby?

I read them all, every last article.  If you read my initial introduction, you know that I don’t have my first-born due to heroin addiction.  It was my fault, I know that but, I am extremely emotional when it comes to children and addiction.  Especially, when it has to do with methadone and children because methadone saved my life.  MMT gave me the willpower to be a mother and I have my youngest 2 children.

When I saw article after article about children dying from methadone due to their parent’s incompetence, I was furious.  It broke my heart for those poor babies.  On the other hand, I was livid that society blamed methadone when it was the parent’s fault.  How could methadone get the blame when the parents let it happen?  I understand kids are sneaky.  Yet, the majority of these deaths were kids under two years of age. They were babies.  They couldn’t climb on top of the fridge and open a lockbox of methadone.  The majority of these babies weren’t even old enough to walk.

Another issue that furthers the stigma of addiction.  As an advocate of methadone maintenance treatment and a survivor of heroin addiction, this post is necessary.  Take a look at all of these stories. Hopefully, you will feel the same as I do.  The parents are to blame, not the medication.

Sophie died from drinking methadone

This little girl, Sophie died after drinking methadone. Her parents stored methadone in a child’s sippy cup to sell to others. Why? They were both sentenced to 8 yrs in prison for manslaughter and child cruelty.

The Morning News

On the 5:00-morning news, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, two people were just charged.  The two people were the parents of a 2-month-old baby.  Last month, the mother called 911 claiming her baby was not breathing.  After going to Children’s Hospital, the doctors made a horrible discovery.  They had to administer Narcan to a 2-month-old child.  The baby overdosed on methadone.  The mother had to inform police and doctors that she and the baby’s father go to the methadone clinic 7 days a week.  At the methadone clinic, they both take their methadone in front of a nurse.

Real quick, let me inform you.  Over the years, I have known plenty of people who get away with their methadone and sell it.  They cheek it and spit it back out.  Some put a cotton ball in their mouth and let it soak into it. If possible, people can spit the methadone into their coffee cup.   It’s crazy. As always, where there is a will there is a way.  Just because you take your methadone in front of a nurse, does not mean you swallow it.

One other thing to keep in mind is that the parents said they go to the clinic 7 days a week.  That means they do not have any privileges. Ultimately, they are still failing drug tests which could be for a few reasons.  They are still using heroin or they are using other illegal drugs, such as Benzos or crack, weed, etc.  If they go 7 days a week, they do not take any methadone home with them.  At least, they are not given any methadone to take home with them.

The parents could be buying other people’s methadone or not swallowing their own.  Yes, I have known people to keep the methadone in their mouth and spit it into a cup outside of the clinic and other people buy it.  Gross, right? When you are an addict you do unthinkable things.

Doctors State The Facts

Back to the story.  The mother claims the only methadone the baby received was through her breast milk.  She claimed that there was no other way for her child to possibly get methadone.   Luckily, the child survived.

Although, one doctor did not let it end there.  That doctor did not like administering Narcan to a 2-month-old baby girl.  After further research, the doctor wrote a letter.  The letter was stating that the small amount of methadone that a child receives through breast milk would never be enough to cause a child to overdose.  Simply, there had to be more to the story.

Being that a 2-month baby is too young to open a bottle of methadone and drink it.  Also, due to the fact that the parents went to the clinic 7 days a week means that they did not have any take home bottles.  It has been concluded that the mother or father gave the baby methadone other than through breastfeeding.  Accordingly, both parents are now in jail charged with the crime. Thankfully, the baby girl is safe.  No longer in her parent’s care.

Thankfully, there are people who understand the logic in these cases.   Of course, methadone is not safe for a child to ingest.  If your baby takes a lethal dose of methadone.  It is your fault. You know the precautions to take with your medication.  You know it can be fatal to young children and infants.  If you don’t properly and safely secure your methadone.  It is a catastrophe waiting to happen.

parents caused Jayden's death

Jayden, a 23-month-old little boy who died from his father giving him a lethal dose of methadone. The parents willingly gave their son methadone for 8 months to relax him and get him to sleep. Simply, because they could not handle him, wanted sleep, or wanted to party.

Parents Blame Methadone For Killing Kids

Mothers or fathers prescribed methadone are given a responsibility.  If you are cheeking your methadone so, you can use it later or sell it.  Then you are not in recovery.  You are still living a lifestyle that is not appropriate for your child.

Parents that have privileges and receive take-home bottle need to take precautions. Methadone clinics even require you to meet special requirements when you are eligible for take-home privileges.  There are strict rules to follow when you have the privilege of not going to the clinic every day.

    • Boxes must be metal
    • Boxes cannot be seen through
    • The box must lock
    • Keep your box out of reach of your children
    • Never take your methadone near your child
  • As a parent, protect your child, take extra precautions.

My bottles are in my lock box somewhere that my children can not reach or possibly get to.  I understand that it is different if you have older children. For example, if you have a teenager who is an addict, it will be hard.  Who is to say that when you are not home that your child rips the house apart looking for your methadone to get high or off of sick. That is a different story but, I have not found a case like that, YET.  I’m sure there are situations like that.

The cases that I am talking about are the parents that are letting their young children get hold of their methadone. Unfortunately, sometimes the methadone is obtained illegally.  Otherwise, it’s the parent’s own prescription that is not being properly and safely stored.

bad mother kills child

Courtney Nicole Howell, 27 yrs old, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for killing her 17-month-old daughter, Jaslynn. She claimed she was only trying to help the little girl fall asleep.

Use Common Sense

It is common sense that if a young child or infant ingests methadone, it quite possibly could be fatal.  There is even a warning on your methadone bottle labels that state that.

If it is truly an accident.  Then, seek professional help immediately.  Don’t try to solve it on your own.  Basically, if the mother does not call for help right away, it is intentional. Something inside of you was wanting to harm your child. Sorry, but you should be in prison if you hurt your baby on purpose.

After I take my methadone each morning.  I will not even kiss my kids until I wake up, have coffee.  Brush my teeth.  I don’t want there to be any chance of them tasting methadone on me. Now, I go a little overboard but I would never let anything happen to my children.  I don’t believe any loving mother or father would.

Total Negligence

Obviously, these parents thought differently.  All over the internet, in different states, different cities, children die from methadone.  From parents leaving their bottles lay around.  Some mothers knew their child ingested methadone but would not call the police soon enough.

There are even cases of the parents giving their children methadone.  When on trial, they claimed they did it for months, they were trying to get their restless child to sleep.  Does anyone actually believe that?  It brings tears to my eyes.  Use your head, it is common sense. It breaks my heart to know what some mothers and fathers do.  A parent’s job is to protect their child from harm, not be the one who causes them harm.

In these cases here, methadone was not the culprit.  Methadone was the tool used to kill these innocent children.  Such as a gun or knife is a tool criminals use when committing murder.  These parents used methadone to commit murder on their own child.

It’s simple.  Keep your methadone away from your child.  Always.  It’s a no-brainer.  Before you blame the death solely on methadone.  Take a look at the bigger picture.  You might very well change your mind.  A young child should never have access to methadone, accidental or not. Properly storing your methadone is a responsibility.

If your child is able to get your methadone and something bad happens, it’s your fault. Plain and simple. It’s not the methadone killing kids, it’s you.

Arizona Mom kills toddler

In Phoenix Arizona, Natalie Russel would not call medical help when her 22-month-old daughter Adalynn ingested 120 mg of methadone. Instead, she gave her methamphetamine trying to counteract. The girl died 9 hrs after the lethal dose. The mother is charged with her death. Her two sons have been permanently removed from her custody.

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION

I am NOT a licensed therapist. For immediate help call the Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Adminstration’s 1-800-662-HELP. It's a free 24/7 service for ppl facing mental +/or substance use disorders.Or you can use the online treatment locator HERE.

Comments

  1. What is wrong with these parent’s I know some one that has been on methadone for years and probably will never be able to take any bottles home except Sunday because he is able to hold the methadone in the back of his throat until he gets out to his car
    Even though my children are adults and out of the house I do have my 3 year old granddaughter 5 days a week I keep my bottles in a safe in my bedroom up on a shelf in the closet
    It’s common sense people to keep all meds out of the reach of children

    • Exactly, pure common sense. How I see it is if these parents let their tiny kids have access then it’s intentional. They want something tragic to happen.

  2. Wow, being in Canada, I’m sure this problem must be happening here too but not as well publicized. Thank you for bringing this issue to the surface. It must be addressed. We cannot keep turning blind eyes. Yes, I know that Methadone is needed to help some people out, and I realize this is the more extreme abusive behavior. As there have been several adults in our community die of Methadone overdoses in recent months, I never considered that some of the children might also be exposed. I will definitely share this post so further light can be shown on this issue of darkness. Thank you for taking the brave front and sharing this.

    • Thank you. Please share it and educate people on this topic. Innocent children shouldn’t be subjected to do this. To believe there are parents willingly giving their babies methadone so they will go to sleep. Simply, to allow the parent to go get high. It’s disgusting and unimaginable. Just one more reason why methadone maintenance treatment has a bad reputation.

  3. Wow! Thank you for sharing this information Natasha in order to raise awareness of this problem. I had no idea this was going on. So sad.

    Unfortunately, there are so many in some sort of recovery who are there because it has been mandated by the courts. You are right, if people are selling or abusing methadone, they are not truly practicing recovery. Hopefully, this will raise some awareness and will reach some of them who need true recovery.

    God bless you for being vulnerable and open with your recovery journey.

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