Stephanie Irene Greene, 37, Charged With Homicide By Child Abuse
SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. -- A baby died because of drugs that passed to the infant through the mother's breast milk, deputies say, and after a lengthy investigation, that mother has been charged with homicide.
Deputies said on Nov. 13, 2010, a 911 call was made about a dead infant at a home on Kimbrell Loop in the Campobello community.
After the Spartanburg County Coroner’s Office and the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office investigated the death, they determined that lethal amounts of medications, including morphine, had been passed to the infant through the breast milk of the baby's mother.
The investigation included toxicology tests.
Investigators said after an extensive investigation, they determined the child’s mother, Stephanie Irene Greene, was taking prescription painkillers while nursing her 1½ month old. Greene was arrested on Friday.
"Doing toxicology tests and things like that, we wanted to make sure, and the coroner's office wanted to make sure that we had done everything correctly and possible to make sure we understood fully what had happened to this child, how this child died and who was responsible for it," said Tony Ivey of the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office.
Greene, 37, has been charged with homicide by child abuse or neglect and 38 counts of violation of drug distribution laws.
According to a representative from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Greene used fraudulent prescriptions to obtain painkillers in patch and pill form from a pharmacy in Inman. The DHEC representative said Greene got the drugs between March 2009 and December 2010.
Greene was arrested Friday and is at the Spartanburg County Detention Center.
"Taking care of children and raising children is very serious business, and if you're taking medication or whatever, follow the doctor's guidelines, consult your doctor, because this is something that should never have happened to an infant child like that. It had no control over this whatsoever and the mother should've known better," Ivey said.
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Six-week-old baby dies after 'overdosing on morphine in mother's breast milk'
''A six-week-old baby died after she received lethal doses of the painkiller morphine through her mother's breast milk, police said.
Alexis was found dead in her bed at the home of her mother Stephanie Greene, 37, in Campobello, South Carolina.
The painkiller allegedly got into Greene’s breast milk after she took pills and used patches containing morphine after the child’s birth.
A homicide investigation was opened in January and autopsy results showed a lethal level of morphine in the child's body.
Greene has since been charged with homicide by child abuse.
La Leche League International is an organisation that encourages breast-feeding in new mothers.
Breast-feeding mothers are allowed to take morphine because low levels of it pass into the mother's milk when taken properly, an organisation spokesman said.
‘Most drugs like morphine pass so poorly through human milk that it is nearly impossible for a child to have a therapeutic dose, much less a lethal dose,’ the spokesman said.
But authorities said their investigation shows Greene illegally obtained the drugs at least 38 times in less than two years at a Spartanburg pharmacy.
That led authorities to also charge Greene with 38 counts of violating drug distribution laws.
If convicted, she faces up to five years in prison for each felony count and also faces 20 years to life in prison if convicted of homicide by child abuse.''
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