A woman in Delaware was arrested after her daughter brought heroin to school, distributing packets she thought were filled with candy.
When workers at the Hickory Tree Child Day Care Center saw some children with small packets of an unknown substance, police and medical personnel were called on the scene. Some of the children were taken to hospitals in the area as a precautionary measure but later on released. None of the children were in danger after being examined.
Because of the incident, Ashley Tull, 30, was charged with endangering the welfare of a child and drug possession.
Her four-year-old daughter went to the daycare using a different backpack because hers was ruined by the family pet the previous night. The backpack her mother handed her contained 249 packets of heroin. The child mistook them for candy and decided to share with everyone at the daycare, prompting the incident.
Tull was released from jail after she posted bail, but she is barred from contacting her children. Aside from the four-year-old from the daycare, she also has a nine-year-old and an 11-year-old. The children are in the custody of a relative as the police continue their investigation of the incident.
As an opioid drug, heroin is synthesized from morphine, a natural substance extracted from poppy seeds. It usually appears as a brown or white powder but can also be black and sticky, thus the monicker "black tar heroin."
In 2011, more than four million Americans aged 12 years old and above had used the drug at least once in their life. Reports estimate that around 23 percent of people who try heroin end up being dependent on the drug.
When heroin is used, it is converted back into morphine, binding to opioid receptors in the brain. As these receptors typically control automatic processes in the body necessary for life, like respiration, it is not unusual for overdoses to hamper these very processes. As breathing is normally suppressed, heroin overdoses can be fatal.
Aside from drug dependence, heroin use leads to other health problems as well. These include spontaneous abortions, collapsed veins, gastrointestinal cramping, liver disease, heart infections and pulmonary complications.
To address heroin addiction, a combination of medication and behavioral therapies has been proven effective. With enough support, it is possible for heroin addicts to stop using the drug and return to stable, productive lives.