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By Steve Birr
Police arrested a mother in New York City after she accidentally packed her box of heroin into her six-year-old son’s book bag before sending him off to school.
Leah Pagano, a 36-year-old mother from Queens, said she mistakenly packed her personal stash of heroin in her son’s bag instead of the child’s lunch box. Officials with P.S. 209 in Whitestone called Pagano and told her to come to the school after her son showed the box to a teacher aid. Police later came to the school and arrested Pagano, reports ABC 7 New York.
The box contained eight envelopes of heroin, three pills and two straws. The mother cooperated fully with authorities and reportedly confessed to them she has a problem with addiction.
“I am the only one who prepares my son’s school bag and lunch,” Pagano told police, according to court documents. “I use heroin. I do not shoot it, but I snort it. I could not find my box with heroin inside. I was not sure if it was in his school bag and went to sleep. I can not believe I did this.”
Police charged the mother with criminal possession of a controlled substance and endangering the welfare of a child. Pagano was released on her own recognizance and will stand trial in April.
Opioids claimed a record number of lives in 2015, eclipsing deaths in auto accidents and contributing to the first drop in U.S. life expectancy since 1993. Whether heroin or prescription painkillers, opioids now account for roughly 63 percent of drug fatalities.
A recent study found roughly 70 percent of parents prescribed pain medications like Oxycontin, Vicidone and Percocet are not taking responsible precautions to keep the pills away from their children, risking accidental overdose and death.
The problem is thought to be behind an uptick in the number of overdose cases doctors are witnessing in young children.