Category Archives: Child Endangerment

Pediatric Death from Cannabis Exposure Reported

A case study published in August reports that there has been a pediatric death from cannabis exposure.  An 11-month-old male baby in Colorado died of cardiac arrest related to cannabis exposure.  Thomas Nappe, DO, and Christopher Hoyte, MD, explained the incident  in Clinical Practices and Cases in Emergency Medicine, August 2017

Before hospitalization, the patient had been lethargic for two hours when he woke up one morning.  Then he had a seizure. Continue reading

Child Endangerment-Babysitter-Marijuana

In Days of Legalization, Pot-Impaired Babysitters Concern Parents

Impaired babysitters are a new problem, as the laws across the country continue to advance the cause of marijuana legalization.    About half the Americans now want to legalize the drug, because the marijuana lobbyists have invented the idea it is safer than alcohol.  Their propaganda comes with a cost in terms of driving deaths and child deaths from abuse or neglect.

Impaired babysitters

One such instance happened in Palm Bay, Florida when babysitter Jacqueline Bjorndal used marijuana, alcohol, and meth at a party the night before she was supposed to watch a little girl. The following day she showed up to work and was instructed to not let the child go near the pool because she could not swim.

During the course of the day the child asked if she could go outside near the pool to pet the family pig to which Bjorndal said she could.

Minutes went by and there was no sign of the child anywhere so Jacqueline called her roommate over and they continued searching for another 20 minutes or so. Eventually, the roommate looked in the bottom of the dirty pool and saw the outline of the child.

Police reports say that there was a bunch of debris and hoses loosely scattered around the pool. The babysitter has been charged with Aggravated Manslaughter by Neglect of a Child.  In the state of Florida if you are convicted of that charge you are likely to expect a: Minimum-mandatory 16 ¾ years in prison, you can receive up to Life in prison, Up to Life on probation & Up to $10,000 in fines.

Another babysitter Went Out to Smoke Pot

There was a case in San Diego where a teen-aged girl was hired to babysit a 16-month-old old toddler. While at the house, the baby was playing inside with his slightly over sister.  The girl got a call from her aunt, stepped outside, and the two females smoked pot out in the car. The baby come out of the house and walked into the behind the car as the visitor’s car pulled away. The baby was killed.   However, two California juries acquitted the babysitter.  The sitter’s first error in judgement was thinking that she could leave the toddler out of her sight.  We don’t know how much time she spent in the car, but smoking marijuana distorts time.

Both these horrendous deaths occurred because young people have been told marijuana is harmless.

Babysitter Ate Pot Cookies by Mistake

In another case in Palm Beach, Florida, the roles got reversed. The mother of the house had gone out and hired a babysitter for the evening and at some point she went into the refrigerator and ate one of the homemade cookies that were in there.

The cookies, unfortunately, had been laced with marijuana which caused the victim to start hallucinating.

The police report stated she felt like she was going to die and kept thinking that she had a brain tumor. The babysitter was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Police spoke to the mother and she said, of course, “that she had never seen the cookies before.” But, when police talked to the children they were aware to not eat the homemade ones but to only eat the store brand ones.

This is not just negligent because the babysitter got sick, it is also because the container was within the children’s reach. This was noted in the police report and relayed to the Department of Children and Families.  Hopefully somebody will follow up with the case.

Trusted Sitter Believed in “Harmless Herb” Message in Missouri

Another instance occurred in St. Louis Missouri after a 10-month child was found with a fractured skull after the child care provider had left for the day. Katie Hartwig, 31, was arrested after the girl’s mother found her, “sleeping face down on a couch.”

Hartwig was no stranger to the family as she had been taking care of the baby for most of the past year. The family thought this was completely out of character for her.

“Our sweet baby Quinn was abused by her babysitter who was also our family friend.  We are all so devastated and still in shock.  Her skull was shattered by a person we cared for and trusted.  She has a long recovery and between  medical bill and time off work we would be so grateful for any help.”

Katie was arrested and charged with first-degree felony child abuse and misdemeanor counts of child endangerment and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The “reason” Katie gives for injuring the child is because she wouldn’t stop crying.

These are just a few examples of completely irresponsible behavior that cannot go on while raising or taking care of a child.  Marijuana should not be around at all in a household especially when others can mistakenly gain access to it.

Child Abuse Deaths Have Been Caused by Babysitters who Toked

 

Child death-Marijuana

As of January 1, 2017 Parents Opposed to Pot traced 80 deaths to child abuse and neglect by parents or caregivers under the influence of marijuana.  In three cases, the babysitters stopped paying attention when the children who died.  In Florida, babysitters were the responsible party in two of the deaths by drowning.   In California, a sitter left the toddler and went outside to smoke pot in the car of a visitor.  But the 16-month-old boy wandered outside and was hit by the car when the visitor back out and left.

Many of the marijuana-related deaths, about 15% of them, occurred because of the mothers’ irresponsible or abusive boyfriends.  It’s not clear how many of these were boyfriends who had been babysitters.  However, we are creating a sad society in which a mother puts her precious baby in the care of irresponsible drug users.  These deaths point to another reason we should caution people not to date marijuana users.

Children testing positive for THC

Recently in Nebraska a babysitter has been investigated after a child in her care tested positive for THC. The girl was taken to the emergency room where doctors determined that the 2-year-old was suffering from exposure to the psychoactive ingredient.

After the police investigated more into the matter it was discovered that the day care provider had baked marijuana brownies and used the same pan to make some cookies for the kids to eat throughout the day.

The babysitter was ticketed for suspicion of child abuse and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services issued an emergency order to close the daycare.

Whom do you trust?

When it comes to your family, you always want the best for them and that means choosing the right person to watch them when you are not around.  We need to trust that teachers, babysitters and bus drivers would not put our kids in harm’s way.

Children’s minds are molded by what they experience in the household and if this type of behavior is displayed in front of them at an early age, they will begin to accept its normality.

While it is considered the norm to hire a neighbor or good friend you have known for awhile it is always important to really know a good amount about the person before letting them take care of somebody you love.

Today’s teens do not realize the consequences of smoking and then being around small children or infants.  Many parents also don’t realize the problem.

The notion that marijuana is considered harmless has caused a number of tragedies and it leads babysitters (and other professionals) to believe that they are not impaired.

Pot’s Downside Clear in Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October Can Shed Light on the Role of Drugs Like Pot in Domestic Violence

Few people dispute that alcohol contributes to domestic violence. They probably don’t flinch if you say methamphetamine is a cause. But they viciously attack anyone who blames the sacred marijuana plant.

A 14-year-old boy who killed his father and injured three others at a South Carolina school came from a home domestic violence and pot. It should be no surprise by now with the number of violent marijuana users in the news lately.  (A report shows his father had convictions for marijuana and domestic violence.)  Perhaps Jesse Osborne’s attack on his dad and others is a reflection of the trauma his dad — a pot user — had inflicted upon him and his mother.  Jesse had been asked to leave school for bringing a hatchet there.

Despite widespread denial among pot users, the following studies show a strong connection between marijuana and domestic violence.  (October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.)

Effects of marijuana use on impulsivity and hostility in daily life, by Emily B. Ansell, Holly B. Laws, Michael J. Roche, Rajita Sinha, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 148 (2015) 136-142. January 6, 2015.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep. 2014.12.029/   (Study of 43 subject found marijuana, but not alcohol, use increased interpersonal hostility and impulsivity in daily life, day of use and next day, Smartphone assessments)

The Relationship Between Marijuana Use and Intimate Partner Violence in a Nationally Representative, Longitudinal Sample,”  by Jennifer M. Reingle, Stephanie A.S. Staras, Wesley G. Jennings, Jennifer Branchini, Mildred M. Maldonado-Molina, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, May, 2012.  (Consistent use of marijuana during adolescence was predictive of committing intimate partner violence in early adulthood and being a victim, 2 x more likely.  Sample of 9,400)

Examining the relationship between marijuana use, medical marijuana dispensaries, and abusive and neglectful parenting, by Bridget Freishler, Paul J. Gruenewald, Jennifer Price Wolf,  Child Abuse & Neglect  (2015)  http://dx.doi.org/10/1016/j.chiabu.2015.07/008/  (Telephone survey of 3,023 in California cities concludes current marijuana use correlates to child physical abuse but not neglect, abuse more widespread closer to dispensaries.)

Alcohol and drug disorders among physically abusive and neglectful parents in a community-based sample, by K Kelleher, M Chaffin, J Hollenberg, and E Fischer. American Journal of Public Health, 84 (10) pp. 15861590, (11,000 people with substance abuse problems: abuse-3x more likely, neglect-4x. Substance abuse is involved in 50-80% of child abuse according to this study.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1615078/

Violent Behavior as Related to Marijuana and Other Drugs, by Albert Friedman, Kimberly Glassman, Arlene Terras, Journal of Addictive Diseases, Vol 20(1), 2001,pp. 49-72. (Marijuana users nearly as likely to engage in violent behaviors as crack users)
As a nation, we are turning a blind eye to the damage marijuana users may present to women and children.  We need to stop underestimating the poor judgment and the warped sense of time that marijuana users have, which often combined with fires and hot cars, have been lethal.

The Need to Stop Multigenerational Violence and Substance Abuse

For groups advocating to stop violence against women, it’s recommended that “marijuana use should be considered as a target of early intimate partner violence intervention and treatment programming.”  Treating problems at their source is best.

We also must do this to avoid child abuse, because studies show that  “abused children are at special risk to become heavy pot users in adolescence. ” from   Characteristics of Child Maltreatment and Adolescent marijuana Use: A Prospective Study, by Howard Dubowitz, Richard Thompson, Amelia M. Arria, Diana English, Richard Metzger and Jonathan Kotch, Child Maltreatment.    

The Emerald Triangle of Northern California is a reflection of a society with widespread acceptance of marijuana use. There’s  multi-generational drug abuse woven into to the culture, and with it comes addiction and violence.

Prevent Child Abuse America was formed in 1974 and has made little progress.   We’ll only make progress if we make progress with “the war on drugs,” which Drug Policy Alliance mocks and calls a failure.  The alternative is chronic drug abuse and family violence which gives the drug abusers their freedoms but at what cost?   Consider some recent events: Two babies died in Pennsylvania shortly after parents whose children have seizures forced the state legislature to pass a medical marijuana bill. *  In May, a man in Pennsylvania, killed his 5-month old daughter while high on marijuana.  Yet marijuana advocates try to tell us that marijuana is harmless.  In April, a mother who smoked throughout pregnancy smothered her three-week old daughter who died through asphyxiation.  She admitted to smoking marijuana which made her fall asleep with the daughter in her arms.

A case that happened in West Virginia on October 3 is even more shocking.  At 4:30 a.m., a mother awoke to find her baby covered in blood in the basement with her boyfriend.  The man had sexually assaulted the baby who was brain dead.   It turns out that both she and the boyfriend had smoked pot the previous night.   Under the influence of both marijuana and alcohol, he had a psychotic break.

Instead of arguing that another drug or that alcohol creates more domestic violence, we need to acknowledge that all drug use in interconnected.   Multi-substance abuse is the rule rather than an exception.  Marijuana, however, is most likely to contribute to psychosis, as described above or in other brutal murders.

Child Abuse, Exploitation in California’s Marijuana Country

The Emerald Triangle can’t hide behind its secrets after a report of widespread abuse, sexual exploitation and worker exploitation was published last week by Reveal News. There’s both worker and sexual exploitation.  Cosmopolitan Magazine published another version of the story.  Here are some of the most hideous incidents affecting children and teens.

  • A  girl from Humboldt County started  working for a local grower at 12.  He gave her methamphetamine to speed up her work as a trimmer,  and passed her around to pay off debts.   She ran away to a homeless shelter and found that pimps were using it for a hunting ground.
  • Two other teens in that same homeless shelter report having been trafficked for sex.   Both local and out-of-town teens may be involved.
  • They give girls weed, alcohol and food in exchange for trimming. Sex is also expected to go with it.
  • A 15-year-old  runaway from southern California,  was kept inside a box and forced to have sex with the two growers from Lake County, near Humboldt County,  who had found her.

    Federal prosecutors said they directed her to trim marijuana and have sex with them, sometimes while chained to a metal rack.   For several few days, she was kept inside a box.

    The men also shocked the girl with a cattle prod and told her she would be shot by neighbors if she attempted to leave, an employee later told police.  The men were initially charged with human trafficking.  When federal authorities took over, the trafficking charges were dropped. The men are expected to plead guilty to lesser charges of employing a minor and illegal marijuana cultivation.    (The Cosmopolitan article has more information about this incident.)

    DrugPreventionEducation
    Parents Opposed to Pot stands by its belief that preventing drug use is the key to preventing social problems and so much human suffering.   After exploitation, teens and other workers who came to the area to work in the marijuana industry frequently end up homeless.

     

  • After exploitation, teens and other workers many end up in homeless shelters

A housing and homelessness report of Humboldt County showed that 33% of the homeless said they had a substance abuse problem. (Not everyone with substance abuse disorders knows or admits it.)  The same report said 37% had been victims of domestic violence.  Mental health affects 30% of them.  Parents Opposed stands by its belief that preventing substance use in the first place will diminish all these problems and save so much anguish.   (Read one of our testimonies about marijuana and domestic violence.)

In summer and fall, temporary workers come in town to work the marijuana harvests. These “trimmigrants” sometimes end up homeless and without jobs.   In one article, it’s reported that 100 European “trimmigrants” were stiffed for pay, broke, without a place to go and ended up in homeless shelters.   Mexican and other immigrants also face abuse.

There’s a frequent “missing persons” problem in the area, which shows up through a quick search on the Internet.  Sometimes the lost people are found, but at least 5 women have never been found.

In fact, Cosmopolitan reports that Humboldt County, center of the marijuana cultivation, has the largest number of missing persons in the state on a per capita basis.

Reveal  is based in San Francisco and is a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting, found in 1977.   Journalists Shoshana Walter and Elle Snow (not her real name) did outstanding jobs in their respective publications, Reveal.org and Cosmopolitan.     Elle is a victim of sexual trafficking and she is now working against this problem and has started an organization in Eureka, Game Over.   Listen to Against Their Will.