Parents Face Child Endangerment Charges After Infant Ingests Fentanyl
Children accidentally ingesting illegal drugs is many parents’ worst fear, even parents who themselves are no strangers to drugs and their effects. Thus, parents carefully inspect their children’s trick or treat candy every Halloween and hope that their young teens are telling the truth about how much parental supervision there will be at a birthday party. Parents who struggle with drug addiction would not wish drug use on their own children; in fact, the desire to create a drug-free environment for their children is often a motivation for the parents to continue seeking treatment for their addictions. Too often, though, the drugs win, and a recent news story shows that, when there are drugs in the home, even the youngest children are vulnerable to accidental drug overdoses. If you are facing charges for possessing or using drugs in the presence of a child, contact a Pennsylvania drug crimes defense lawyer.
Kids, Drugs, and Child Endangerment
Pennsylvania’s child endangerment laws apply in any situation where a parent or other adult who is legally responsible for children puts the children in an unsafe situation, whether or not the child suffered a serious injury. For example, allowing your child to ride on the back of your motorcycle without a helmet would constitute child endangerment. Having illegal drugs in a house where children leave also counts as child endangerment. It is prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony depending on whether the dangerous situation is an isolated instance or a pattern of behavior.
In the News
Charles Salzman, Jr. and Kristen Bristow of Cochranville, Pennsylvania are facing criminal charges, including child endangerment, aggravated assault, and reckless endangerment of another person, as well as charges related to their use of illegal drugs, after their 11-month-old son accidentally ingested enough drugs to require hospitalization. In September 2019, Salzman and Bristow were sitting in their car outside their home; the child was in the car with them. The adults fell asleep after ingesting a combination of heroin and fentanyl. The child, who was not restrained in a car seat at the time, was able to find the drugs and ingest them, too. At 6:30 in the evening, another family member came outside and found the parents asleep in the car. They tried to wake up the child, but he was unresponsive and not breathing. When first responders arrived, they treated the boy with naloxone, a drug that can rapidly reverse the effects of opioid overdoses; then they took him to the hospital, where he was admitted. Fentanyl is a very strong synthetic opioid, and it causes more overdose deaths than any other drug, so the child is lucky to be alive.
Let Us Help You Today
Whether you have been charged with simple possession of illegal drugs, or if much worse things have happened because of your drug use, a skilled criminal defense lawyer is your best hope. Contact Pittsburgh drug crimes lawyer Gary E. Gerson if you are facing charges related to drug crimes.