Utah Couple Charged After Giving Newborn Drugs To Hide Addiction

A Utah couple has been charged with child endangerment after giving their newborn daughter pain medication in an attempt to disguise the child’s opiate addiction.

According to a report from the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, Lacey Dawn Christenson, 26, and Colby Glen Wilde, 29, had given their child a prescription pain medication known as Suboxone the day of her birth.

The child’s addiction developed during Christenson’s pregnancy when Christenson abused the use of prescription pain medication and heroin. The Elk Ridge couple attempted to cover the infant’s addiction by providing the baby with Suboxone along her mouth and gums at Utah Valley Hospital when they were away from medical staff.

Drug overdose is one of the leading causes of accidental death in the United States as the opiate epidemic continues its rampage. Babies of drug-addicted parents often become addicted to opiates because pregnant women suffering from addiction often find detoxification difficult as the withdrawal stage may be harmful to themselves as well as the fetus.

According to CNN, “informants told law enforcement that parents of drug-addicted babies sometimes [give their children pain medication] to hide signs of addiction from hospitals.”

While the event took place on April 9, the couple only faced arrest on June 26 after Wilde was arrested for theft at a Spanish Fork Walmart. Christenson was also taken in for an outstanding warrant.

Based on a tip from a former pet-sitter, the police obtained a search warrant and searched the couple’s home while Wilde and Christenson were in prison. The police found drug paraphernalia next to various children’s things including a sippy cup and bassinette. The couple’s four children, three boys between the ages of two and eight and their three-month-old daughter, were taken into custody where they were tested for drugs.

Having been arrested on prior charges, the couple was released from jail only to be arrested again on July 18 when the police had obtained a second search warrant regarding the couple’s drug abuse.

According to CNN, “When the deputies arrived to do the second search warrant, they found Wilde ‘actively smoking heroin’…”

Wilde and Christenson have since been charged with the use of heroin and methamphetamine, endangerment of a child, possession of drug paraphernalia, and distribution of a controlled substance in a drug-free zone.

According to police deputies, the couple’s oldest child tested negative for drugs while the younger children tested positive for methamphetamines. The couple’s daughter tested positive for heroin and morphine. Christenson and Wilde’s cash bail is currently set at $10,000.

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