A Utah couple has been accused of giving drugs to their opioid-addicted newborn to hide her withdrawal symptoms. Colby Wilde (29) and Lacey Christenson (26) welcomed their third child on April 9 at Utah Valley Hospital.
According to a news release from the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, Christenson had been using heroin and prescription drugs during her pregnancy, so the couple knew their daughter would be addicted to heroin.
The couple told the police they learned a method from other friends to avoid hospital staff from learning their baby’s addiction.
Utah couple gave Suboxone to their baby daughter to hide her heroin addiction
Infants born to opioid addicts are usually afflicted by neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), which comes with withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, dehydration, hyperactive reflexes, and inability to gain weight.
Wilde crushed pills of Suboxone, a drug used to treat heroin addiction and withdrawal, and forced the powder down his daughter’s throat. The drug masked any withdrawal symptoms, and the couple was able to take their daughter to their house.
“[Christenson and Wilde] admitted that, after their daughter was born on April 9, later that same day, Wilde applied some of the crushed Suboxone pills to the infant’s gums while nurses and other medical staff were out of the room,” said the sheriff’s office in the press release. “[They] told investigators they talked to friends about how to mask signs of drug dependence in an infant, and that they discussed this issue with each other.”
The couple continued to give the drug to their daughter, until on June 26, Wilde was arrested after attempting to steal some groceries at a Walmart. He ran with her baby daughter to avoid getting caught, but eventually, he handed the baby to a stranger and drove away in his car.
Christenson was waiting inside the Walmart with their two sons and another son she had from a previous relationship. Police officials caught Wilde, and he was charged with driving under the influence, possession of methamphetamine and heroin, driving without insurance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. His wife was also arrested on a prior outstanding warrant.
All of the couple’s children tested positive for methamphetamine
Christenson and Wilde were also charged with four counts each of child endangerment after the police found drugs all over their house. The couple’s two biological sons and Christenson’s son also tested positive for methamphetamine. The sheriff’s office noted the newborn also tested positive for heroin and morphine. The children were taken into custody by Wilde’s oldest son.
The couple went out on bail, but they were arrested again on July 18, after police went to the house with a search warrant and found Wilde smoking heroin. The parents tested positive for opioids and methamphetamines, and police charged them with new counts, including distribution of a controlled substance in a drug-free zone, endangerment of a child, possession and use of heroin and methamphetamine, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
“I don’t have any doubt that Colby and Lacey love their kids,” Sgt. Spencer Cannon of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office told Fox 13. “They’re addicts right now, with serious addiction problems, and they’re not in a good place to be taking care of themselves even, let alone anybody else.”
The couple remains in jail, as their bail was set at $10,000 each.
Source: Action News Jax