Friday, August 25, 2006

Couple charged under Ala.'s new chemical endangerment law

Couple charged under Ala.'s new chemical endangerment law

ASHVILLE, Ala. (AP) -- A St. Clair County couple indicted in the death of their infant daughter are believed to be the first individuals in Alabama charged under a new law aimed at people cooking methamphetamine around children.

District Attorney Richard Minor said William Neighbors, 25, and Melissa Little, 24, both of Odenville, were charged with chemical endangerment of a child.

"To my knowledge, they are the first people in the state who have been indicted under this new law," Minor said late Wednesday.

He said the couple's 15-month-old daughter, Melissa Neighbors, died after ingesting or inhaling methadone at their home.

Methadone is a controlled substance normally used to treat drug addicts. Alabama's new law allows a person to be charged with chemical endangerment of a child when someone recklessly causes or permits a child to be exposed to, ingest or inhale, or to have contact with a controlled substance that results in the death of the child, Minor said.

The prosecutor said the new law went into effect June 1 and the child died June 5.

He said Neighbors was arrested late Tuesday, and Little was arrested Wednesday morning. Chemical endangerment carries a penalty of 10 years to life in prison.

The Legislature passed the law because of the large number of methamphetamine labs found inside homes where children lived.


There are so many things wrong with this law and this case.

1. Was the methadone legal and perhaps prescribed by a physician treating addiction in the parents?

2. Since it wasn't methamphetamine why are they being charged under a law created for meth cookers?

3. Why is this law only for illicit substances? If I had a small child and accidentally left some aspirin within reach and they ate them all and died they would be just as dead as if they had ingested an illicit substance and it would be just as miserable a situation.

4. This is a retarded law because people hooked on methamphetamine to the point where they are cooking their own obviously aren't thinking about arrest, jail or prison anyway. If they were they would not be engaged in that activity.

Heres the thing...most people are unaware that methamphetamine can be aquired by prescription. It isn't an illegal drug but rather illegally manufactured. The prescription version is called Desoxyn and is prescribed for people with severe ADHD, obesity or depression. It is a schedule 2...meaning it has some recognized medical value and is therefore easier to obtain than marijuana. Imagine that!!

Prescription users do not exhibit the same devastating health effects that users of the street version do, although I'll readily admit that any type of stimulant can make you psychotic over a long period of time. My solution to this "epidemic" would be to encourage the opening of meth clinics and get addicts on a clean version of the drug (Desoxyn) and then offer treatment/counseling. That would pretty much do away with labs in peoples homes and in the trunks of their cars which put so many other people at risk. This problem has a simple solution...but as usual anything simple and based on common sense is an automatic disqualifier in the political arena.

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