A woman in Roanoke, Va., has been charged with giving her boyfriend’s 10-year-old son Suboxone, a powerful drug traditionally given to addicts to help wean them off of opioids. Her plan was to collect the boy’s urine and pass it off as her own during a drug screening, authorities said.
The boy became sick at school earlier this month, the Roanoke Times reported, so the department of social services and police were called. He apparently told authorities that 29-year-old Katie Sowers Hinkley made him take an orange pill on Oct. 4 and 5, and then told him to urinate into a “long, yellow bottle,” according to a search warrant.
The search warrant allowed police to discover a bottle fitting that description — and smelling of urine — in the refrigerator of the home the boy shared with his father (Hinkley’s boyfriend) and Hinkley. They found another urine-filled bottle under the sink, and confiscated “six blue pills and half an orange pill, medication bottles, a cell phone, three smoking devices and a bag of green plant material,” says the Roanoke Times story. Police were unable to find any bottles of Suboxone, however.
When confronted by police, Hinkley allegedly laughed and said she didn’t realize the drug would affect the boy at school. But he was reportedly vomiting profusely when officers first arrived on the scene. “It’s lucky for everyone involved he didn’t overdose. He could have died,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Jason Annis reportedly said at a bond hearing in Radford Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
Hinkley was denied bond, and Annis was able to convince the judge to amend two drug distribution charges to two counts of distributing a Schedule III drug to a minor. “It’s hard to think of a more appalling set of facts,” Annis reportedly said.
Suboxone — generic name buprenorphine — was approved by the FDA in 2002 as an alternative to methadone to treat opioid addiction. It’s designed to suppress cravings and withdrawals, as well as prevent patients from getting high on any opioids already in their system. It’s reportedly not as addictive as methadone, but still addictive. Hinkley was allegedly taking the drug to treat heroin addiction.
Allegedly, this is not the first time Hinkley has attempted to cheat the drug test, which she is required to undergo in order to get her Suboxone prescription renewed. Her adult sister confessed to cops that she’s provided Hinkley with clean urine for her drug screenings in the past, but for some reason, Hinkley decided this time she was going to use the boy’s.
Hinkley’s boyfriend confirmed to police that her Suboxone does indeed come in the form of orange pills, which the boy remembers taking. Hinkley reportedly confirmed from prison that her relationship with her boyfriend has been over since she allegedly poisoned his son. If convicted, she could face 10 to 50 years in prison for each of the two counts she’s charged with.
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