A couple is in prison after authorities discovered they dosed their infant daughter with drugs only hours after the baby was born to hide the newborn’s addiction to opioids from doctors.
Colby Wilde and Lacey Christenson had their third child at Utah Valley Hospital April 9 and managed to successfully hide the baby’s withdrawal symptoms from hospital staff. Wilde crushed up pills of Suboxone, a medication used to treat opioid withdrawal, and rubbed the powder on the infant girl’s gums when doctors left the room to give them a moment alone with the child, reports The Washington Post.
A statement from the hospital Friday said Christenson was “heavily using heroin and prescription pain medication during her pregnancy,” leading to the newborn’s dependence on opioids. If not for a subsequent arrest of the couple for attempting to scam a Walmart in Elk Ridge, Utah, authorities would not have learned of their actions at the hospital.
Wilde was spotted at the Walmart returning items he had not purchased to the customer service counter June 26. When spotted by security he tried to run out of the store while holding his infant daughter in a car seat. Wilde dropped the car seat twice before giving it, and his daughter, to strangers while trying to escape.
Authorities arrested Wilde on several charges and Christenson for an outstanding warrant. Christenson was inside the Walmart with their two sons and a third from a previous marriage when police arrested Wilde. During a search of their home police found drugs and paraphernalia scattered throughout the residence, including next to the baby’s bassinet. The father of the eldest child took custody of all four children.
A drug test showed the couple’s biological sons had methamphetamine in their systems, while their infant daughter tested positive for methamphetamine, heroin and morphine.
After another arrest July 18 for violating terms of their bail, the pair admitted to police they had used Suboxone on their daughter “hours after the baby was born,” in an effort to hide the baby’s addiction from hospital staff. They are being held on 10,000 bail and face multiple charges including possession by use of heroin and methamphetamine, and endangerment of a child.
Babies are being born suffering from drug addiction withdrawals at a historic pace, increasing five-fold across the U.S. between 2003 and 2012. The drug scourge is also pushing a record number of children into foster care.
Drug addiction is now the second leading cause for removal from parental custody, following child neglect, which social workers note is often exacerbated by drug use in the home.
A staggering 85,937 children entered foster care due to parental drug use in the U.S. in 2015, according to data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System.
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