An Illinois woman was charged with several felonies after it was discovered that her 17-month-old son had overdosed on a combination of methamphetamine and fentanyl.
Police responded to the home of Billie Jean Cottle, 25, where they found her unresponsive in the bathroom, according to KTVI. Her 17-month-old son was in her arms and was also unresponsive while displaying signs of an overdose.
Investigators found that toxicology reports on both Cottle and her son showed that they had methamphetamine and fentanyl in their systems; drug paraphernalia was also found inside the home. Cottle was charged with aggravated battery, aggravated battery to a child and reckless conduct, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. All three charges are felonies.
"Once they got in the bathroom they found Billie Jean Cottle unresponsive suffering from an overdose. The more disturbing fact is in her grasp of her arm was her 17-month-old child who was also unresponsive. He appeared to be suffering from what appeared to be an overdose," Sheriff John Lakin told KTVI.
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Cottle was taken into custody on an outstanding warrant for drug possession, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The Department of Child and Family Services is looking into proper placement for the child since Cottle is incarcerated, according to KMOV. Bond for Cottle is set at $250,000.
The child has been medically cleared and should be released from the hospital in the coming days, reports KTVI. Neighbors of Cottle's expressed their surprise when they learned of the situation.
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"I would wonder why she would do that, it's one thing if that's your lifestyle, fine but I would not bring your child into [it]," said neighbor Natasha Wright. She also was shocked that such a crime could have happened in her own neighborhood.
Sheriff Lakin used this incident to mention the opioid epidemic in the U.S. According to data from Health and Human Services, more people died as a result of a drug overdose in 2014 than any other year on record, and more than 60 percent of those overdose deaths were as a result of an opioid.
On an average day in 2014, roughly 580 people started taking heroin, and 78 people died as a direct result of opioid use.
Many have turned their attention to the rise in opioid prescriptions as a cause of the epidemic.
"We’ve seen numerous reports that potentially hundreds of millions of opioid pills wound up on the black market, fueling a nationwide epidemic -- we need a better understanding of how committed these companies are to preventing this type of drug diversion or whether they are turning a blind eye," said Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, according to Business Insider.
Sources: KTVI, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KMOV, Department of Health and Human Services, Business Insider / Photo credit: Madison County Sheriff's Department via KMOV, Premier of Alberta/Flickr, Senator Claire McCaskill/Flickr