Recovering heroin addicts are given the drug methadone to help them kick the habit. I have some strong opinions on this because someone I once loved was a recovering addict on methadone. It's not a cure. It's a crutch. And it makes a person just as junked out as a dope high. It is prescribed for too long and too often and the heroin junkie just ends up becoming a methadone junkie. But hey! It's given at a clinic prescribed by a court or a doctor, so it's okay to allow people to take a drug that will make them catatonic.
Now let's add a baby to this scenario.
Bonny Richards and John Davies had a baby girl, Holly. Bonny and John also were recovering heroin users who were on methadone. They lived in Gloucestershire, England, and when 8-month-old Holly started teething, they rubbed methadone on the baby's gums to make her feel better.
Holly got Chicken Pox. Methadone soothed her.
Six months of methadone "curing" this baby's ailments and now Holly is dead. At 14 months of age.
The parents, Bonny and John, say they didn't realize the dangers.
Bonny, the mother, was sentenced to 15 months in jail. John, the father, got 18 months.
That's it. They were both sentenced to time in jail just a little bit longer than the innocent child was on this earth. I think they should have sentenced them for a lifetime -- the lifetime Holly should have been given.
When the parents were sentenced, the judge said: "You were both recovering heroin users, you had methadone for that purpose. You should have known of its potential dangers. You shut your eyes to the possible dangerous effects of administering methadone. It was reckless to the extreme. It was dangerously misguided."
Well, yeah. People who are recovering junkies on methadone are misguided. They are sick. They need help. They should have not been caring for a newborn. Why wasn't anyone there to help Holly? The government was there to help her junkie parents get off heroin and get onto another drug to "help" them. Surely someone must have known about the baby. Where was the family? Friends? Neighbors? People must have known it was not a safe environment for an infant. Known enough to monitor the situation, make sure things were okay.
Bonny and John thought it was okay. They thought a little methadone will help the baby feel better.
A failure on so many levels.
Image via THRILLHO/Flickr