A couple from Berea, Ohio is facing felony charges after their 7-year-old son overdosed on heroin. Danielle Simko and Charles Dowdy appeared in a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court on Friday after a grand jury handed out felony charges of drug possession and endangering children. The couple is being held on $150,000 bond. They first appeared on January 11 in connection to their son’s overdose. The couple’s next hearing is set for the morning of February 22, reports AOL.
This case has become headline news as Ohio and the nation struggle to battle the ever-growing issue of fentanyl and heroin overdoses. Charles Dowdy, the 7-year-old’s father, told authorities that he found his son unresponsive in his bed on Milton Street in Berea around 10:30 p.m. Dowdy told authorities that he woke up and noticed that his son was not breathing and that his lips had turned blue. He says that he immediately called 911. Danielle Simko met the responding police officer outside her Berea home and when they entered the residence, they found Dowdy frantically attempting to resuscitate his son, reports FOX 8.
Officials state that the responding officer took over the life saving attempts and checked the 7-year-old for signs of life. The officer found a weak pulse and stopped compressions. The ambulance arrived and the young boy was rushed to Southwest General Medical Center.
Employees at the hospital discovered a small bag of heroin and prescription pills inside the 7-year-old’s socks. When questioned, Dowdy admitted to police that he had used drugs earlier in the day. Dowdy and Simko were both arrested at the hospital.
Both Dowdy and Simko have their own attorneys defending them. The Public Defender’s Office of Cuyahoga County is representing Dowdy and Simko is being represented by Gary Seewald.
A spokesperson for the police department says that the boy is now in the care of relatives and has recovered well. He is the youngest overdose victim that police in Berea have dealt with.
According to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office, the death rate for heroin, fentanyl and other types of opiates increased from 64 deaths in 2011 to 517 deaths in 2016. There were 46 fentanyl and heroin overdoses in the month of January. The Cleveland police state that there were 14 fatal overdoses in a single weekend in February, according to Cleveland.com. Berea, and the nation, are struggling with losses to opiate overdoses while grasping to hope that a way to battle the epidemic is not out of reach.
By Tammy Marie Rose
Photo Courtesy Cuyahoga County Jail