A woman from Pinellas County, Florida, has been arrested on a charge of child neglect with great bodily harm after she allegedly exposed a 3-month-old boy in her care to cocaine, reported Tampa’s ABC Action News.
Angelica M. Lopez was arrested on Thursday, November 15, for the incident, which is said to have taken place in June, according to the arrest affidavit from the Clearwater Police Department seen by the Tampa Bay Times.
The police said that the 29-year-old Florida woman was “preparing cocaine for sale” in her apartment, which she shares with the infant, when he was exposed to the drug and then “showed signs of physical distress.”
Even though she knew the baby boy was not doing well, Lopez allegedly waited more than 11 hours before seeking medical attention for him.
The police said that tests showed the boy had cocaine in his system, and medical personnel said that he had suffered significant brain damage because of it.
Lopez admitted her involvement and wrongdoings in the incident when questioned by the police. She was booked into the Pinellas Jail and is being held without bond.
It is not known why it took five months for the police to arrest her.
Also currently unknown is the relationship between Lopez and the boy. All the affidavit states is that he was in her “care and custody.”
JUST IN | 3-month-old baby boy exposed to cocaine suffers significant brain damage after Pinellas woman waits 11 hours to get him medical attention.— ABC Action News (@abcactionnews) November 17, 2018
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This is not the first time that a baby has become ill after accidentally coming in contact with cocaine.
In 2008 in Texas, the Associated Press reported that an 8-month-old boy died after sucking on his father’s fingers, which had traces of cocaine on them. Medical tests revealed that the infant had metabolized cocaine in his bloodstream and undigested cocaine in his stomach. Dennis Ray Driver was convicted of felony murder and sentenced to life in prison.
In June of 2017, Jessica Hunt — a mother of four from Gwinnett County, Georgia — was arrested on charges of cruelty to children and violation of probation after the fire department was called to her home to tend to her 8-month-old daughter, who had become ill after ingesting cocaine, reported CBS Atlanta.
Although the effects can differ from person to person, Drugs.com states that the “immediate physical effects of cocaine use include constricted blood vessels, dilated pupils, and increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure.” Other symptoms experienced by those taking cocaine include disturbances in heart rhythm, headaches, chest pain, respiratory failure, strokes, stomach pain and nausea, heart attacks, and seizures.
If you or someone you know — especially a child — accidentally ingests cocaine, please call 911 or visit the hospital immediately.