Amidst the overwhelming heroin epidemic in the U.S. and the prevelance of child abuse we are now seeing the two interlinked in a terrifying way. Not to say this is the first instance, sadly no, these occurences are happening more than we like to believe.
A Mother and Father residing in Washington accused of injecting their own three small children with Heroin were charged Monday.
After investigators conducted a welfare check due to reports of heroin use in the home, they determined the children had been abused. The home was filled with rat droppings, paraphanelia and other adults “using”.
CPS removed the three children, ages six, four, and two from Ashlee Rose Hutt, 24 and Mac Malver, 25.
The six year old told authorities stories of being choked multiple times and being given “white powder” mixed with water or a needle injection of the substance. They were told it was “feel good medicine” and “Sleeping Juice”.
There were cuts, marks, and bruises found on the children and the two and four year old tested positive for Heroin. The six year old’s test came back negative, though, the test was performed two months after the fact.
The couple face numerous charges, three of which are felanies. They are being held on a $100,000 bond and have a restraining order in place against them getting within 1,000 feet of their children.
Luckily, it’s being reported the three children are in foster homes and doing well.
These heartless monsters force fed and freely injected their very own, very young children with a drug so powerful, so detrimental that it has become a nationwide epidemic. Heroin is not your average “party drug”, it has lasting effects on your brain’s physiology that often can not be un-done.
My heart aches for these children and every child out there being abused that have not yet had such luck of being discovered. They are so young, and innocent without the ability to defend themselves.
Hutt and Maiver’s children may have been found, treated and removed from immediate danger but they surely have a long and trying road ahead of them.
Unfortuntely, the road they are taking has been paved with neglect, despair and trauma. My hope for them is to find solice in one another and the strength of surviving such horrors to leap over the road that has been paved for them and begin laying their own road to a better and loving life.
What I find most troubling of all is that their brains have already had the experience, and at such a young age when it is still developing and learning how to process information. Their brains have already had their “pleasure centers” triggered with the use of opioids. And the brain is a miraculous specimen, one in which will store this reaction, refer back and compare to the next time this center is illicited.
Normally, these areas of the brain are triggered by such things as, food, sex, and joyous moments, creating a chemical response to illicit the release of dopamine in the brain to give a sense of gratification and/or pleasure. This is how we “feel happy”.
While most adolescents are experiencing true joy, and happiness through play, love, food, and accomplishment teaching their brains to respond with gratifying responses. These children abused with drugs have only ever had these experiences for their brains to “take” as gratifying.
Though, this does not mean it can not be overwritten or un-done.
Lasting effects of Heroin use on the brains of children are full of unknowns and variables difficult to account for which makes them difficult to predict or track. With proper treatment including behavioral therapy and future experiences of joy they can “re-teach” and override the brains stored response for gratification.
Heroin is a very dangerous and highly addictive substance that has more lasting affects than meets the eye.
We can all see the more notable side, where families are destroyed, lives are lost, the extreme weight loss, addicts resorting to violence and theft and the list goes on.
Though, the more pressing side these kids may face are the affects on the brain’s white matter, physiological responses, and cognitive and behavorial issues on top of the possible addiction/dependency and the traumatic abuse they endured.
Here’s to hoping they are placed in a loving home and recieve proper treatment.
Sources: CNN.com, USAToday.com, Fox25Boston.com, Heroin.net, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov/
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