Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

Child Abuse and neglect deaths continue – highest count in Pennsylvania

Parents Opposed to Pot cites 256 marijuana-related child deaths in a plea not to legalize MJ.

MERRIFIELD, VA, US, March 30, 2021 — As New York and Virginia legislators move closer to marijuana legalization this week, they should consider the traffic deaths of children whose caregivers drove after using marijuana. In the Bronx, New York, Sincere Mitchell, 8, died in a crash when his father was drunk and high on THC. In Virginia, Brian Cameron Hughes died after his mother’s boyfriend crashed, admitting he had smoked marijuana before driving.

“Those pushing for cannabis legalization want to keep marijuana users from getting arrest records. But legislators need to consider the potential loss of life from THC-impaired drivers on our roads,” explains Corinne Gasper, who lost her daughter to a speeding driver with high levels of THC in his system.

Currently, law enforcement cannot adequately test or prove THC-impairment of motorists. Parents Opposed to Pot (PopPot.org), a Merrifield, VA, non-profit, finds news reports of at least 115 U.S. traffic deaths in which marijuana is the only impairing substance and many more deaths with marijuana and other drug mixtures.

Poppot.org also tracks child abuse and neglect deaths related to parent and caregiver pot use, finding 256 deaths in news reports since the first two states voted to legalize pot in 2012. This count includes deaths of 29 children that occurred because a parent or caregiver drove while impaired by marijuana and 23 who died from infant THC exposure, mainly in infants.

Marijuana, the most common drug found in child abuse or neglect deaths

Parents Opposed to Pot’s tracking is informal, based on how much information gets reported by the press. The federal government requires all states to report child fatalities related to abuse or neglect. In three states that report on specific drugs connected to such deaths, Texas, Arizona, and Florida – not states with the highest rate of pot use– marijuana consistently comes up as the number one drug, more than alcohol.

In Colorado, a father, Isaac Bullard was recently sentenced for the death of his 23-month son. After “dabbing” high potency pot one morning, he forgot to put his son in the car and backed out over him.

When PopPot.org first started tracking child abuse deaths linked to pot, Colorado and California led in the tally of deaths from late 2012 to 2015. Today, Pennsylvania leads Poppot’s count, with 25 deaths, most of them having occurred recently. Since medical marijuana was argued in the state legislature (the bill passed in April 2016), it seems that more children have been born to mothers who used during pregnancy or post-partum. Mothers using marijuana during pregnancy or postpartum pose many risks to their children, including low birth weight and breathing issues. Twelve of the Pennsylvania deaths involve THC exposure.

Marijuana impairs memory and executive functioning which can lead to poor judgement. Other side effects include: distortion of time, addiction, paranoia, anxiety and mood disorders. The worst outcome is psychosis which, if left untreated or not resolved by quitting drug use, can become schizophrenia. An adult who is high or in psychosis may fail to give adequate supervision, or may act violently towards a child.

Fires, drownings, hot cars

Eighteen children died in fires related to parents using pot. Three sets of twins, all toddlers, died in fires, either because their moms left home and abandoned them in order to acquire marijuana, or, in one case of a father given court-ordered visitation, the parent fell asleep after smoking it.

California has reported many instances of child endangerment when children were present at home marijuana labs, called butane hash oil labs. Two of 18 children who died by fire involved BHO explosions and at least three children had to be treated for BHO burns on more than half of their bodies.

Twenty-five children died from drowning, 8 of them in Florida. Adult marijuana use was a likely factor in at least 21 hot car deaths of infants and toddlers since 2013.

Parents Opposed to Pot is a 501c3 educational nonprofit based in northern Virginia. Contact at 773-322-7523 or visit the website, poppot.org, Facebook @poppotorg.


Editors Note: The number of child deaths as of 4/20/2021 is now 262 and two more deaths have occurred in Pennsylvania, a drowning and a suffocation death. See PopPot Fact Sheet on Child Abuse Deaths.

Medical Societies of five states speak out against marijuana legalization

Recently the medical societies of Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania joined together to express mutually shared concerns about efforts to legalize marijuana by state governments. Also in late October, the family of a California woman brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the maker of an edible product bought at a San Diego pot shop.

Legalization continues to present serious public health concerns.  The societies issuing the warning represent tens of thousands of physicians. Their statement echoes our view that marijuana legalization is an anti-science policy. Continue reading Medical Societies of five states speak out against marijuana legalization

Washington State Teens Murder over Marijuana

State has teen violence problem, or is it just legalization of pot?

On December 7, in Everett, Washington, 5 teens killed a boy’s mother when she tried to defend her son.   The violent 16- and 17-year-olds who were trying to steal the son’s marijuana and meth. In Alaska, another state where pot is legal for adults, 5 teens murdered another teen over marijuana.  Allegedly, it was because the victim smoked his friend’s joint.

What other substance makes people so greedy and barbarous that they often kill for it?  Only meth can  inspire so much, but meth use has gone way down.  Marijuana, or cannabis, inspires a cult-like  following, with some advocates worshiping the plant as a god.  Several recent incidents back up the scholarly research on marijuana’s deleterious effects on the teen brain, promoting violent behavior and even murder. Continue reading Washington State Teens Murder over Marijuana

Pot’s Downside Clear in Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October Can Shed Light on the Role of Drugs Like Pot in Domestic Violence

Few people dispute that alcohol contributes to domestic violence. They probably don’t flinch if you say methamphetamine is a cause. But they viciously attack anyone who blames the sacred marijuana plant.

A 14-year-old boy who killed his father and injured three others at a South Carolina school came from a home domestic violence and pot. It should be no surprise by now with the number of violent marijuana users in the news lately.  (A report shows his father had convictions for marijuana and domestic violence.)  Perhaps Jesse Osborne’s attack on his dad and others is a reflection of the trauma his dad — a pot user — had inflicted upon him and his mother.  Jesse had been asked to leave school for bringing a hatchet there.

Despite widespread denial among pot users, the following studies show a strong connection between marijuana and domestic violence.  (October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.)

Effects of marijuana use on impulsivity and hostility in daily life, by Emily B. Ansell, Holly B. Laws, Michael J. Roche, Rajita Sinha, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 148 (2015) 136-142. January 6, 2015.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep. 2014.12.029/   (Study of 43 subject found marijuana, but not alcohol, use increased interpersonal hostility and impulsivity in daily life, day of use and next day, Smartphone assessments)

The Relationship Between Marijuana Use and Intimate Partner Violence in a Nationally Representative, Longitudinal Sample,”  by Jennifer M. Reingle, Stephanie A.S. Staras, Wesley G. Jennings, Jennifer Branchini, Mildred M. Maldonado-Molina, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, May, 2012.  (Consistent use of marijuana during adolescence was predictive of committing intimate partner violence in early adulthood and being a victim, 2 x more likely.  Sample of 9,400)

Examining the relationship between marijuana use, medical marijuana dispensaries, and abusive and neglectful parenting, by Bridget Freishler, Paul J. Gruenewald, Jennifer Price Wolf,  Child Abuse & Neglect  (2015)  http://dx.doi.org/10/1016/j.chiabu.2015.07/008/  (Telephone survey of 3,023 in California cities concludes current marijuana use correlates to child physical abuse but not neglect, abuse more widespread closer to dispensaries.)

Alcohol and drug disorders among physically abusive and neglectful parents in a community-based sample, by K Kelleher, M Chaffin, J Hollenberg, and E Fischer. American Journal of Public Health, 84 (10) pp. 15861590, (11,000 people with substance abuse problems: abuse-3x more likely, neglect-4x. Substance abuse is involved in 50-80% of child abuse according to this study.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1615078/

Violent Behavior as Related to Marijuana and Other Drugs, by Albert Friedman, Kimberly Glassman, Arlene Terras, Journal of Addictive Diseases, Vol 20(1), 2001,pp. 49-72. (Marijuana users nearly as likely to engage in violent behaviors as crack users)
As a nation, we are turning a blind eye to the damage marijuana users may present to women and children.  We need to stop underestimating the poor judgment and the warped sense of time that marijuana users have, which often combined with fires and hot cars, have been lethal.

The Need to Stop Multigenerational Violence and Substance Abuse

For groups advocating to stop violence against women, it’s recommended that “marijuana use should be considered as a target of early intimate partner violence intervention and treatment programming.”  Treating problems at their source is best.

We also must do this to avoid child abuse, because studies show that  “abused children are at special risk to become heavy pot users in adolescence. ” from   Characteristics of Child Maltreatment and Adolescent marijuana Use: A Prospective Study, by Howard Dubowitz, Richard Thompson, Amelia M. Arria, Diana English, Richard Metzger and Jonathan Kotch, Child Maltreatment.    

The Emerald Triangle of Northern California is a reflection of a society with widespread acceptance of marijuana use. There’s  multi-generational drug abuse woven into to the culture, and with it comes addiction and violence.

Prevent Child Abuse America was formed in 1974 and has made little progress.   We’ll only make progress if we make progress with “the war on drugs,” which Drug Policy Alliance mocks and calls a failure.  The alternative is chronic drug abuse and family violence which gives the drug abusers their freedoms but at what cost?   Consider some recent events: Two babies died in Pennsylvania shortly after parents whose children have seizures forced the state legislature to pass a medical marijuana bill. *  In May, a man in Pennsylvania, killed his 5-month old daughter while high on marijuana.  Yet marijuana advocates try to tell us that marijuana is harmless.  In April, a mother who smoked throughout pregnancy smothered her three-week old daughter who died through asphyxiation.  She admitted to smoking marijuana which made her fall asleep with the daughter in her arms.

A case that happened in West Virginia on October 3 is even more shocking.  At 4:30 a.m., a mother awoke to find her baby covered in blood in the basement with her boyfriend.  The man had sexually assaulted the baby who was brain dead.   It turns out that both she and the boyfriend had smoked pot the previous night.   Under the influence of both marijuana and alcohol, he had a psychotic break.

Instead of arguing that another drug or that alcohol creates more domestic violence, we need to acknowledge that all drug use in interconnected.   Multi-substance abuse is the rule rather than an exception.  Marijuana, however, is most likely to contribute to psychosis, as described above or in other brutal murders.