Teenagers hospitalized

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 3, 2007

UPPER TOWNSHIP— Two teenagers are hospitalized today, victims of what authorities have called apparent drug overdoses last night or early this morning.

Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Jeff Lawless said a 13-year-old boy who was visiting at Debbie Newcomb’s residence, on County Road 180 near the intersection with Porter Gap Road, was transported by helicopter to Cabell-Huntington Hospital in Huntington, W.Va.

A 14-year-old girl who lived in the home was taken by ambulance to King’s Daughters Medical Center in Ashland, Ky. Police said the boy was unconscious and the girl was conscious.

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“I was sitting drinking coffee and my son came and said, ‘Dad, there’s a kid lying in the middle of the road,’” said neighbor Otis Jenkins. “I went up and there was this kid lying in the road.”

The sheriff’s office, Ohio State Highway Patrol and Upper Township Fire Department responded to the call for help. Lawrence County Children’s Services was also called to the residence.

“From what we know based on our preliminary investigation, some kids were spending the night at this address and when the mother went to sleep, the kids began taking pills prescribed to the mother,” Lawless said.

Lawless said the medication may have been Klonapin or Cyraquil or both. Klonapin is used for panic disorder and seizures, among other ailments. Seroquil is an anti-psychotic drug that is used to treat Alzheimer’s and childhood bi-polar disorder, among other ailments.

Eight children ranging in age from 18 months to 15 years were thought to have been in the residence at the time, police said.

Lawless said Newcomb may face charges, including child endangerment, since the incident happened at her residence and the drugs prescribed to her were within the reach of the juveniles.

“She’s got to be responsible not only for her kids but for any of the kids who were staying here,” Lawless said.