Baltimore baby died after grandmother gave him methadone

By David Ferguson
Sunday, August 4, 2013 18:15 EDT
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Methadone bottle via Flickr
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A 50-year-old woman in Baltimore is charged with murder and child abuse after she rubbed methadone on her one-year-old grandson’s gums to make him sleep, causing a lethal overdose. According to WJZ, Baltimore’s CBS Channel 12, Towanda Reaves used the powerful synthetic opiate on both the boy and his two-year-old sister.

The children were visiting Reaves overnight for the Fourth of July when the incident took place. Neighbors told WJZ that they thought the children were exposed to the drug by accident, but according to police, Reaves confessed to giving them the powerful narcotic to make them sleep.

“She confirmed that she had given methadone to the children and put it on the gum lines of their mouths,” said Baltimore Police spokesperson Det. Jeremy Silbert.

Methadone is given to heroin addicts in order to manage their cravings for opiates and ease the symptoms of heroin withdrawal. Neighbors expressed shock that Reaves would do such a thing, calling her a doting and attentive grandmother.

“She really took care of them. As far as I can see, she wasn’t a bad person,” one neighbor said.

Another woman told WJZ, “As a grandmother myself, I just can’t imagine it. I just can’t imagine.”

Watch video about this story from Baltimore’s CBS affiliate Channel 12 WJZ:

[image of methadone bottle via Flickr Creative Commons]

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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