Raetihi Mother Jailed For Killing Child With Methadone

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By Smitha Nambiar | August 4, 2014 1:30 PM EST

42-year-old Claudine Michelle Herewini, from Raetihi, was jailed for four years and eleven months after her son Antony Christensen was killed with a lethal dose of methadone that she had given him to cure his sore stomach.

Reuters
Injectable drugs are pictured inside an injection room at a hospital in Shanghai May 4, 2014. Picture taken May 4, 2014.

Claudine Michelle Herewini pleaded guilty for the manslaughter of her son Antony Christensen, who died on December 7, 2012. Christensen, who was found dead by a family member at his Raetihi home north of Whanganui was only nine years old and died of an overdose of methadone. Herewini prescribed him the medicine when her son came back from school, complaining of sore stomach.
Christensen reportedly felt sick after consuming the medicine and called 111 later in the evening, as his mother was too drunk to attend to him. The ambulance staff suggested that he didn't need any treatment and left him to get some sleep. However, they had no clue that the boy had consumed methadone. Christensen died in his sleep the same night.

While making the judgment, Justice Ron Young remarked that Herewini was intoxicated and extremely depressed, with a history of drug and alcohol abuse. Herewini also traded her methadone for other drugs. The 42-year-old's lawyer said that she was extremely upset and remorseful. She has three other children, whom she is struggling to raise.

What is Methadone?
Methadone is an extremely strong drug, mostly prescribed as a replacement drug to those who are addicted to opiates such as heroin. The medicine is also a good pain reliever for chronic pain, and is available as a pill to be swallowed or in a liquid form, to be drunk, diluted or injected.

Can Methadone Lead to Death?
Since Methadone does not give the feeling of 'euphoria' as other drugs like heroine, people who are addicted to drugs might have an overdose of it. Upon increase of the dosage, methadone can give the same effect as any other drug. In extreme cases, the person concerned might even die. In fact, thousands die every year by consuming an overdose of methadone.

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(Photo: Reuters / Aly Song)
Injectable drugs are pictured inside an injection room at a hospital in Shanghai May 4, 2014. Picture taken May 4, 2014.
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