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After baby's apparent overdose, prosecutor urges drug users with children to get help

Posted at 10:37 PM, Mar 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-19 11:47:35-04

COVINGTON, Ky. — Emergency responders on Sunday night used naloxone to revive a 9-month-old baby experiencing an apparent opioid overdose.

Investigators continued Monday night to probe the events leading up to the incident, and Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders said it was unclear whether illicit drugs were involved. However, he also said cases in which children require life-saving care after accidental drug exposure have become increasingly common.

“Somebody tries to hide their drugs from the police when they throw it in the floorboard or the back seat in the car,” he said. “It’s within reach of the child. That’s an instance, an example of the thing kinds of things we’re seeing. The drug problem — epidemic — is spreading beyond simple addicts consuming a substance.

“It puts other people in danger.”

Marcus M. Grissom, of Cincinnati, and Angel K. Terry, of Covington, each face a wanton endangerment charge.

The causes of these crises are things of which every parent should be conscious, he added. A child old enough to crawl, grasp things and put those things in their mouth is old enough to seriously harm themselves by accident.

Many parents try to baby-proof their houses by locking cabinets and covering electrical outlets, but parents using drugs are unlikely to be in a sound enough state of mind to keep the substances away from their children.

“They’re obviously not primarily concerned about their child if they’re doing drugs in their child’s presence,” Sanders said.

These cases illustrate the urgency of people with drug abuse problems finding help, he added. Doing so needn’t always coincide with an arrest.

“All the police departments have Angel Initiatives where you call a police department up and you say, ‘I have a drug problem; I need help,’” he said. “…Even if you don’t have money, don’t have insurance, there is somebody out there that can help.

"If you reach out to the police department — I know they get the reputation of arresting someone first — each one of them has the ability to refer addicts to someplace to get treatment. Hopefully, we can nip this addiction in the bud before it puts any kids at risk.”

If investigators discover illicit drugs were involved in the baby's overdose, the parents could face charges of criminal abuse or wanton endangerment. Both are felonies.