Cases of children overdosing on drugs found across country

Kayleigh Mae Cassell

FORT EDWARD, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Washington County District Attorney said his eyes have been opened to the realities of children dying of drug overdoses.

The case of the death of Kayleigh Mae Cassell was settled on Tuesday in the form of a guilty plea. Her mother’s former boyfriend, Joshua Bennett, admitted to his role in the toddler’s death.

Kayleigh Mae died of a heroin overdose in February 2015.

Her mother, Rachel Ball, already pleaded guilty to Criminally Negligent Homicide and Child Endangerment.

But even with the case resolved, Washington County District Attorney Tony Jordan said he has learned of at least two other cases where children died or were the victims of heroin overdoses.

During a press conference on Tuesday, he said his eyes had been opened to the risk of overdose and death in young children.

“No one had seen a case like this, and just since Kayleigh Mae’s death, I’m aware of at least two other instances where other children have overdosed on heroin,” he said.

One case was in Provo, Utah where a 1-year-old’s death was blamed on heroin. In a case out of Ohio, police said two infants had to be medically revived after overdosing on opioids.

“It points to the fact that exposure can be more than environmental and accidental,” Jordan said.

Ashley Livingston is a certified recovery coach. She also called herself a young person in sustained recovery.

She said the cases of child overdoses could be a sign that other children might also fall victim in the Capital Region.

“Absolutely,” she said. “Because in this case, she gave it to the child. But there’s other cases where someone might leave something down where a child could get it and not be thinking rationally about that.”

Jordan also said Kayleigh Mae’s death has opened the eyes of law enforcement to the fact that the children of addicts aren’t just vulnerable to physical and mental abuse.

Ball and Bennett will be sentenced over the next couple of weeks.

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