A Springfield man has been charged with endangering children after his 1-year-old son appears to have overdoses and was revived with Narcan — a trend Clark County leaders say is happening more often as the epidemic deepens.
Samuel J. Mosley, 38, was arrested Friday and pleaded not guilty Monday to the third-degree felony charge in court. He faces a possible one to five years in prison if convicted. Bond was set at $25,000.
Mosley was found in Champaign County last week by the Southern Ohio Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team, said Capt. Mike Varner of the Springfield Police Division.
On April 16, Mosley’s baby was found unresponsive and transported by medical helicopter to Dayton Children’s Hospital.
Mosley allegedly told hospital staff that his son was playing outside when he fell and busted his lip, according to court records. He later put the child down for a nap, but couldn’t wake him up.
He drove the child to Springfield Regional Medical Center, where he received a scan for a possible head injury. Additional testing showed the baby had cocaine in his system. He was given Narcan and responded immediately. He was placed in the ICU.
Mosley allegedly was unable to give a timeline of events, the report says, and had trouble remembering. He said the child was with him all day. Nurses also said Mosley allegedly had trouble keeping his eyes open, police said, and his speech was slurred.
“It turns out the fall was superficial, however, they were able to determine the child had opioids in his system and he was taken to Dayton Children’s for further treatment,” Varner said.
On April 18, police confirmed the child tested positive for opiates and cocaine. The child is expected to make a full recovery and has been released from the hospital.
Clark County has had large spikes in overdoses this month. Between April 3 and April 7, the Springfield Regional Medical Center treated at least 40 overdose patients, according to the hospital. Last week, Springfield police responded to 19 overdoses in 25 hours between April 13 and 14. The onslaught continued with another wave of 20 overdoses between April 14 and 15.
Nearly 500 people have died of drug overdoses in Clark County since 1998, according to coroner’s office records. More than half of those people — 265 — died in the past five years, the result of the opioid epidemic.
As the opioid crisis worsens in Clark County, more and more children are affected, said Pam Meermans, deputy director of the Child Services Division at Clark County Job and Family Services.
“This is an emergent situation that’s not totally out of the ordinary and I think may be increasing,” she said.
Clark County has seen at least 540 overdoses this year, including 447 in the city through April 19, according to data provided by the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office.
Some of the recent autopsy reports from drug deaths are coming back with both cocaine and fentanyl, Dr. Richard Marsh said. It’s unclear if the drugs were laced or if they were taken separately, he said.
It’s hard to say how much fentanyl it would take to cause an overdose of a small child, he said.
“It’s certainly possible if they got a hold of it,” Marsh said.
Seeing a parent become unresponsive is one of the most traumatic things a child can experience, Meermans said.
“Exposure to ongoing trauma has a huge impact on a child’s development, both physically and emotionally,” she said. “It’s the trauma reaction that we’re concerned about.”
Several cases have included children making 9-1-1 calls or asking neighbors for help. Depending on the age of the child, Meermans said they may have no concept of what’s actually occurring.
“What they see is their parent being unresponsive, maybe even appearing to be dead and I think that’s very scary,” Meermans said.
The cases are for accidental ingestion, she said. She’s not heard of any cases of parents intentionally injecting or administering drugs to their children.
Many of the children who need Narcan for a suspected overdose are too young to speak, she said, making it difficult to know what their reaction is.
“I’m sure it would be very traumatic,” Meermans said. “It’s a real warning sign for our community. I have applauded the media for all the attention and the education we’ve been giving to the community. Now it’s time to realize the impact on kids and it’s profound.”
SPRINGFIELD’S OPIOID WAR
About this series: Springfield’s Opioid War
The Springfield News-Sun has written extensively about opioid and heroin problems in Clark County in the past five years, including stories about multiple overdoses in one weekend and efforts to expand treatment options. This year, the News-Sun will take a deep dive into the community’s opioid epidemic and what local officials are doing to solve the problem.