At the Hickory Tree Child Care Center located in Selbyville, Delaware, a four-year-old girl handed out packets of heroin to her classmates thinking it was candy. The incident then led to investigators with arresting her mother on charges of maintaining a drug property.
Medics as well as police were called to the center thanks to a staff member alert enough to see the children with packets containing a white powder. The packets had not been opened by any of the children and were confiscated almost immediately by the quick acting teacher who turned the drugs over to the authorities. After investigating more the police discovered that the girl had found the drugs in a replacement backpack that her mother had given her. Like the old story of “the dog ate my homework”, the girl said her regular backpack had been destroyed by the family dog the night before.
Thinking the packets were candy the child then started to pass the drugs out to her classmates. All the children exposed were taken by authorities to the hospital as a precautionary measure and later were released.
The backpack reportedly contained about 250 bags of heroin at a weight of 3.735 grams and the mother, one Ashley Tull, 30, also lost custody of two of her other children, two daughters aged 4 and 11, and a boy 9. Now in custody of a relative and Tull is to have no contact with the children having been served with a no-contact order.
Tull was arrested, prosecuted the same day but posted the $6,000 bail and was released.
The mistake of the little girl is understandable as heroin dealers often use pop culture images on their packaging. Often they’ll use cartoon characters that customers can easily identify with. Children on occasion find these packets and think they’re just sugar or sweetener and the same goes for unwary adults. The packets are about the same size as the packets of sugar and sweeteners found at restaurants and in economy boxes from the from the stores. Left about, an person may well mistake them for such and ingest them causing harm.