The mother of the 2-year-old child who accidentally overdosed on fentanyl has been sentenced to 33 years in prison. The jury deciding the case took two hours to hand out the sentence. Lauren Ashley Baker is staring at a minimum of 20 years in prison before she can appeal for parole. She bought the drugs with her stimulus check payments.
Baker left the bag open and fell asleep after consuming the drug. She had bought $1,200 worth of fentanyl from Cincinnati, Ohio. This was revealed in a police uniform citation. She admitted to police that she took a shot of the deadly drug and then lost consciousness while her son played nearby. She woke up to find the contents of her bag scattered around, including the packet of fentanyl.
Jaxson, the child, had lost consciousness by then. Police took the child to the children’s hospital in Cincinnati where doctors found him dead on arrival. The incident highlighted the danger of too much Stimulus Check money passing into the hands of people who are not fit to handle them.
Baker received $5,600 in stimulus check money and spent close to a quarter of it on buying the dangerous drug. Studies have found that the first thing that addicts and alcoholics do is stock up on drugs and alcohol in large quantities.
Stimulus Checks led to an unprecedented spike in the use of dangerous substances and alcohol among addicts as many got more money in their hands than they earned in a year.
Baker admitted that on a fateful day, she took an overdose of the drug that she had freshly bought and lost consciousness. Jaxson was beside her. The child’s father discovered her sleeping and the child unresponsive. He woke up the mother and called 911. But it was too late by then.
Police preliminarily said that they found a substance that matched fentanyl on Lauren Ashley Baker’s bed and around the room. Lauren Ashley Baker had more fentanyl in her possession and handed them over to the police.
She had also given a part of her purchase to a woman and also the father of the child. Police alleged that Lauren Ashley Baker wantonly caused the death of Jaxson by her criminal negligence. She left the whole consignment of fentanyl within reach of the child after having taken the drug herself. She failed to prevent Jaxson from handling the dangerous substance once he picked it out of the purse lying around.
Lauren Ashley Baker was initially arrested on charges of murder, trafficking in controlled substances, and also bringing in Fentanyl, carfentanil, or derivatives of fentanyl.
Study Finds Stimulus Check Money Misused To Buy Drugs And Alcohol
Experts have repeatedly raised concerns about the gross misuse of stimulus check money in the hands of addicts and alcoholics. And with stimulus check amounts at times rising up to tens of thousands for larger families, the dangers are multiplied if the head of the family misuses the family.
There have been numerous instances of people buying multiple times the normal quantity of drugs they buy. In the case of Lauren Ashley Baker, she received $5,600 in stimulus check payments and immediately spent the $1,200 Stimulus Check on buying the fatal consignment of fentanyl. It led to one of her interrogators exclaiming about her purchase, saying that it was way too much Stimulus Check money.
The situation has been exacerbated as such individuals and families have received at a time more than their annual earnings. And the dangers are compounded for individual beneficiaries of stimulus checks as they are not under any pressure from family members to desist from such purchases.
Officials reported around 92,000 drug overdose deaths in America in 2020, the first year of the pandemic when people were confined for weeks together in their homes. It represented a 30% increase over 2019 figures and the situation accelerated after March 2020. It was the month the nationwide shutdown went into effect for the first time. 42 states and territories issued mandatory orders to Americans to stay at home.
Thus, the pandemic mitigation measures that were necessary at that state to reduce the spread of the virus potentially led to unintended social and economic consequences that include depression, health care disruption, and more dangerously a spike in the use of drugs and alcohol.
These unintended consequences combined with interruptions and changes in the illicit supply of drugs possibly contributed to increased fatal overdose risk for persons who used drugs on a regular basis.
The first health advisory was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in December 2020. It highlighted the alarming rise in overdose deaths that accelerated in the second quarter of 2020. It coincided with the beginning of the prolonged shutdowns.
Along with the overuse of drugs and other substances, mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and stress about the pandemic or as a result of mitigation measures were frequently noted. People spoke about depression over the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences and were afraid of relapsing as a result of prolonged social isolation that dragged on for months at a time.
The pandemic also resulted in the alteration of living arrangements, including relocation to avoid exposure, staying with relatives, and experiencing homelessness and housing instability.
The disruption in lives during the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt the lives of millions and changed drug use behavior among people susceptible to addiction. It increased the risk of overdose and resulted in around 80,000 deaths from overdose during the first year of the pandemic.
Further, people living in rural areas were disproportionately impacted by changes brought on during the pandemic. It was a given matter as rural areas have a high rate of use of opioids and methamphetamine. At the same time, such areas have limited drug treatment facilities and harm reduction services.
People using drugs in rural areas may also experience higher levels of stigma about their drug use. This contributes to a greater likelihood of using drugs in isolation and also a reluctance to seek help at any stage.
Suzan Walters of the NYU School of Global Public Health and also a drug use researcher said that there was a tragic increase in death due to overdose during the pandemic.