Young Victims of Parents’ Pot Addiction and Psychosis, Part 4

(Part 1 shows child justice failures in Court. Part 2 of this series is about neglected children who died in fires. Part 3 covers children who die in hot cars and in drownings. Part 4 explains parents who are addicted or psychotic from marijuana. Part 5 shows how children die through violence related to potPart 6 presents a solution. See our updated fact sheet of 60 deaths. Read a previous article,Three Children Die in Colorado).

Toddlers Who Went Outside, Almost Forgotten

Pictures on this page don’t correspond to specific children

When Rebecca Santiago-Reyes left her apartment at 2:30 a.m. to “smoke some weed” last February, she must have need her “fix.” When she went back to check on her children, one was missing. Fortunately, the 4-year daughter was found outside. She was unconscious and had turned blue. The temperature in Connecticut was only 3 degrees, but the little girl survived.   Addiction gets in the way of parenting.

In May of last year, a Florida mother and her boyfriend smoked pot all morning and ignored the pleas of her 3-year old who was locked outside until a neighbor found him.  The arrested mother claimed, “Marijuana should be legal anyways.”

In California, a set of parents fought about changing the diapers of their 11-month-old boy. The ruckus was so loud that it disturbed the neighbors.  Both parents had medical marijuana cards, and perhaps their behavior is a symptom of addiction.

Signs of Addiction & Psychotic Breaks, Can There Be Help Before Too Late?

Pregnant women who can’t give up marijuana are probably addicted.  In Vermont last summer, Rosemary Gile accidentally smothered her infant to death one night.  She smoked pot daily during her pregnancy, and the physician knew it.   The baby, Saunder Coltrane River Gilruth,  was considered at risk because of a very low birth weight.   She had smoked pot the night before he died, at 27 days old.

Angela Alexie, a very depressed mom in Michigan let her newborn child die in a cold garage last winter. The despondent Alexie gave birth alone.  She had three other children who had been taken from her because of neglect and testing + for THC.  Alexie suffers from pot use, psychiatric issues, apathy and inability to cope with life.

Marijuana is often present with a cocktail of other drugs in moms who give birth to drug-addicted babies.   Amber Matuska’s son, Delmon, who died two hours after he was born on February 5, 2014, and tested positive for THC and other drugs.

An addicted father, Javon Thomas, missed the feedings for his 9-month daughter, Madison, while he smoked marijuana, according to authorities in Trenton, NJ.  The little girl was asthmatic and needed a nebulizer.  There were no signs of abuse, but she died.

Addicted and Psychotic Parents

At times, heavy marijuana use leads to psychosis.  Addiction with psychosis is a tragic combination.  When psychotic behaviors erupt (such as when a mother is thinking the child is possessed by demons), marijuana is suspect. A person who can’t quit pot after it brings on psychotic break is probably addicted and needs help.

When psychosis  happens, the outcome is unpredictable

There have been numerous studies of the link between pot and psychosis. Many studies have shown that using marijuana leads to a heightened risk for the development of psychosis.  Those with existing mental illnesses make the course of the mental illness worse by using pot.  In Ohio, Deasia Watkins lost custody of her baby when she was high on marijuana and “speaking in tongues.” Relatives were given custody of the little girl, 3-month old Janiyah Watkins. The birth mother found the baby and brutally murdered her. Watkins suffered from extreme postpartum depression. She had been deemed unfit to care for the baby.

Around the same time, in March 2015 a mother killed a 20-month old baby in the bathroom of a Manhattan burger joint. Customers were concerned why the the bathroom was being used for so long. Employees tried to perform CPR on the child, but he died.  Neighbors of Letitia Fisher, mother of Gavriel Ortiz-Fisher, noted the constant smell of marijuana from her apartment.

Young people need to learn the facts about marijuana, that it can lead to depression, psychosis, hallucinations and schizophrenia.  Society has misled an entire generation of millennials by telling them that pot is “Safer than Alcohol.”  In August, Meredith McSpirit, 19-year old in NY state was issued a report for neglectful parenting based on marijuana usage and abandonment.  About one week later, she crashed her car and killed 4 people.  Fortunately, the infant wasn’t with her.


Let’s Turn the Wrong Message Around

It’s shameful that celebrities and media glamorize marijuana use, with Style magazine doing a cover story on Women and Weed and a Cosmo story about a mother of two-year-olds who smokes pot, for anxiety.  Miley Cyrus recently glorified weed on the MTV music video awards.  While everyone acknowledges that heavy drinking or 2nd-hand tobacco smoke are a risks for children, pot users are treated as celebrities.

It’s likely that the parents described above were addicts, hardcore marijuana addicts. Our US government and its educational system have failed to inform young people that marijuana is addictive, an important consideration for those who become parents. Marijuana often figures into the cases of serious drug addiction, and is used with other drugs, which is precisely why it’s especially dangerous to legalize during our current drug epidemic.

From the examples in our series of articles on child deaths because of pot,  marijuana addiction is prominent. When the children died in fires, or  in swimming pools, the parents showed the signs of serious addiction to marijuana.  When parents let children die in hot cars, they had short-term memory disturbance, and it’s likely they were addicted to pot if they put the substance ahead of their children. Although child protection services tried to intervene in some of the  cases, adequate addiction treatment and mental health care are often not available.  The addicted moms did not want to hurt the children, except for the ones who had obvious psychosis.  Part 5 describes deliberate acts of pot users’ violence towards children which ended in death.