Father Jailed for Cruelty After Forcing Son to Take Heroin Substitute

March 31, 2019 Updated: March 31, 2019

A British father has been jailed for four years on child cruelty charges after forcing his 12-year-old to take a potentially lethal heroin substitute.

James Major, 40, from Cleethorpes, crushed methadone tablets into his son’s blackcurrant juice and forced him to drink it so that he could pass off his son’s urine sample as his own for a drug test.

Major, who has convictions for 25 previous offences, shouted at the boy and forced him to urinate into a bottle, according to Grimsby Live.

The father reportedly told his son not to tell anyone, otherwise he would break his legs.

Major, who admitted to child cruelty, wanted to test negative for opiates and crack cocaine so that he could qualify for drug treatment, according to Grimsby Live.

The father then left home and the boy was later found sprawled at the bottom of a staircase.

The Grimsby Crown Court heard that the boy ended up in the hospital feeling “groggy” and “lethargic” after being forced to take the drug.

Prosecutor Nick Clive was cited in the report as saying: “This defendant’s behaviour was to disguise the fact that he was still taking illegal substances that he should not have been taking.”

Judge John Thackray was cited by Grimsby Live as saying: “Being a father is one of the greatest gifts in life, an unbelievable privilege, and you abused that gift in a deplorable way that put your son’s life and well-being in jeopardy.

“I don’t detect a shred of remorse on your behalf.”

Major’s mother was cited in a follow-up Grimsby Live report as saying, “I love my son but, at the same time, I hate him for what he has done to his son, my grandson.”

Major was sentenced to four years in prison but Judge Thackray said the father could have faced a homicide charge if things had taken a different course.

The boy has since made a full recovery.

What Is Methadone?

Methadone is a synthetic opioid prescribed for pain relief, according to Addition Center, and is also used to treat addiction to opiates—especially heroin.

“Methadone works by changing how the brain and nervous system respond to pain,” according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). “It lessens the painful symptoms of opiate withdrawal and blocks the euphoric effects of opiate drugs such as heroin, morphine, and codeine, as well as semi-synthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone.”

“Methadone medication is specifically tailored for the individual patient (as doses are often adjusted and readjusted) and is never to be shared with or given to others.”

“Take steps to prevent children from accidentally taking methadone,” warns SAMHSA.

Methadone Death of 14-Day-Old Baby

In related news, authorities recently charged a 30-year-old Cudahy woman with reckless homicide after her 14-day-old baby died from a dose of methadone.

Fox6 reports that Amanda-Linn Tanski told investigators she had been receiving prescribed methadone treatments and was told by a doctor she could breastfeed her child.

The Milwaukee County medical examiner stated in the complaint that “the lethal amount of methadone in the baby’s system could not have been delivered via breastfeeding.”

Police said they received a 911 call from the child’s father about 2 a.m. on Dec. 19, after he noticed the baby was limp and did not appear to be breathing.

Paramedics attempted lifesaving measures before the child was pronounced dead about 3 a.m.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow Tom on Twitter: @OZImekTOM
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