A young mother in the US state of Washington is facing criminal charges, along with her boyfriend, after allegedly allowing her three young children to be injected with heroin, which they called 'feel good medicine.'
Ashlee Hutt, 24, and boyfriend Leeroy McIver, 25, both admit to being heroin users and have been charged by police with unlawful delivery of a controlled substance to a person under 18, criminal mistreatment in the second degree and assault of a child in the second degree.
Both deny the charges against them. McIver told police he believes a babysitter injected the children with the illegal opiate (also sometimes called an opioid).
The three children, who are aged six, four and two, have been removed from their home, by local child protection services.
Heroin side effects and facts
Heroin is an illegal drug made from morphine, which is a strong opioid painkiller, derived from opium. A first dose of heroin can cause dizziness and vomiting. Heroin is a highly addictive substance and big doses can also cause sleepiness.
Opiates: what's the bigger picture?
The Washington Post report how children are increasingly becoming victims in an opioid epidemic in the United States.
In September, a man and woman who had overdosed were found in their car in Ohio, while a four-year-old boy was still strapped into the backseat.
Another recent case has emerged in Pittsburgh, of a seven-year-old girl who told her bus driver that she couldn't wake her parents, before police found them dead at home after suspected overdoses.
Every day, 78 Americans die as a result of opioid overdose, according to CDC statistics.