A 37-year-old woman of Baltimore was sentenced on March 5, 2018, to 30 years in prison for the death of her infant son, who was born addicted to heroin. Anne Kirsch admitted to doing drugs during her pregnancy and on the night prior to the baby’s death on Oct. 19, 2015. According to prosecutors, the baby, who was born in an auto repair shop, could live only for nine days due to starvation, painful heroin withdrawals and neglect.
The savagery dwelt on the infant was apparent from the autopsy report, which stated that the child had suffered a traumatic head injury that could have occurred when his fragile head was banged against a flat surface. Also, the mother had made no attempts to feed the child as he was found in an extremely malnourished state, the prosecutors said. Anne has also been sentenced to an additional 45 years, if she fails to comply with the terms of her release.
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby in a press statement deplored the pathetic condition of the baby boy and said, “My heart breaks that this child suffered through nine days of heroin withdrawals, blunt force trauma, and starvation.” She further stated that both parents had an obligation to ensure the safety of the infant.
Anne’s husband, Matthew Kirsch, had also pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death. He was sentenced in July last year to 15 years in prison with an additional 10 years if he violates the terms of his release.
While incidents such as that of the Baltimore mom reveals the hedonistic side of the substance addition, there is an economic angle as well. Babies addicted to drugs pose a huge economic burden on the government treasury as their hospital stay is of a longer duration than those born to normal mothers. Furthermore, babies with addiction are more likely to fall sick, suffer from declining mental and physical health and fall prey to substance abuse in their later years. Compared to the average cost of $3,500 for a baby born without neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), the cost of hospital stay for a child born with NAS is $66,700.
Studies show that the incidence of NAS is rising in the U.S. The number of children born with NAS witnessed a five-fold increase between 2000 and 2012, which is equivalent to one baby grappling with opioid withdrawal born every 25 minutes. Besides, infants with NAS are more likely to have low birthweight and respiratory diseases.
After all is said and done, people with a substance abuse problem are not necessarily monsters. Most mothers, in spite of their condition, care for their children and love them. Unfortunately, no one realizes the fact that those with drug addiction are extremely sick individuals who are in dire need of help. So, people grappling with substance use disorders (SUDs) need support from friends and family members. Such individuals should be encouraged to seek professional treatment from a reputed rehab center.
If you know someone who is abusing any kind of addictive drugs, connect them to the 24/7 Recovery Helpline that offers credible information about the finest rehab facilities in your vicinity. Our counselors can assist you or your loved one in finding one of the best residential drug treatment centers. You can also call at our 24/7 helpline number (855) 441-4405 or chat online with one of our representatives to know more about residential drug treatment programs.