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The dangers of passing drugs through breast milk

A Sacramento, California woman was recently charged with murder and child endangerment after a medical examiner determined that her eight-month-old son died of a prescription drug overdose. Police allege that Sarah Ann Stephens knowingly passed a deadly cocktail of Xanax, methadone and the painkiller Opana to her son, Ryder, through her breast milk. 

Stephens, who was arrested nearly a year after her son died, called the police in September 2012 because Ryder was unresponsive. As there were no signs of foul play, the police did not investigate the matter further, and turned over the baby's body to the coroner. 

In a toxicology screen, the pathologist found high levels of prescription drugs in Ryder's blood stream. According to the Sacramento Bee, "the pathologist told a police detective that 'the drugs were at a level that would have caused an adult addict to be high,' and that results indicated that 'Ryder had a tolerance to the drugs.'"

After reopening the investigation, the police found that Ryder had been hospitalized when he was two months old because of a near-fatal overdose, and Stephens was strongly advised by medical professionals to stop breastfeeding.  After that incident, Ryder continued to be in a constant state of withdrawal. 

Stephens has stated that she believes that Ryder's father gave him the drugs, but police find that scenario to be unlikely. 

Drug addiction affects not just the user, but everyone else in his or her life. If someone you love is abusing prescription drugs, call Intervention Services today. An experienced interventionist will be able to get your friend or relative much-needed help. 

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