Addict guilty of killing infant with morphine in her breast milk

A former nurse was sentenced Friday to 20 years in a South Carolina prison for killing her 6-week-old daughter with breast milk containing high levels of morphine.

Stephanie Greene, 39, of Campobello was convicted Thursday after a three-week trial. She was given 20 years for homicide by child abuse and a total of 10 years on other charges to run concurrently.

Alexis Catherine Greene died in 2010 when she was only 46 days old. A coroner found potentially fatal morphine levels in her system.

Barry Barnette, a prosecutor, said Greene has 39 charges of obtaining prescription drugs fraudulently…

During his closing statement, Barnette told jurors Greene “knew how to work the system” to obtain prescriptions. He said she did not tell the doctors who prescribed her morphine that she was nursing.

She loved her drugs more than she loved her child,” Barnette said.

Jurors deliberated for less than four hours Thursday before returning a guilty verdict. Greene was jailed immediately.

Greene’s defense attorney made what might have been a compelling plea for accidental death saying there are no documented cases of morphine in a nursing mother killing an infant – morphine being available by prescription for nursing mothers. There may be elements of truth in that defense – something any good defense lawyer knows about.

The fact remains Greene was not just relying on prescribed doses from her good old family doctor. She functioned, as far as I’ve been able to learn, like any junkie accumulating her drugs via phony prescriptions and under false pretenses. As a nurse, she knew doctors needed to know she was nursing – and didn’t say a word.

More Americans OD on drugs or poison themselves than are killed in car crashes

In 2008, for the first time in nearly 30 years, more people died of poisoning than in car crashes. Poisoning is now the leading cause of injury death, and 90 percent of poisonings were caused by drugs.

An analysis published last week by the National Center for Health Statistics found that opioid painkillers like morphine, hydrocodone (sold as Vicodin and other brands) and oxycodone (Percocet and other brands) were involved in more than 40 percent of drug poisonings in 2008. These drugs were implicated in more poisoning deaths than heroin or cocaine.

Opioid analgesics accounted for 14,800 of the 36,500 fatal drug poisonings in 2008. About 12,400 people died after taking other kinds of drugs, and for 25 percent of the cases where drugs were listed as a cause of death, no specific drug was mentioned…

Non-Hispanic whites had higher rates of death from drugs than Hispanics, and rates among African-Americans were lower than both.

In 30 states, poisoning is the leading cause of injury death. New Mexico, West Virginia, Alaska, Nevada and Utah have the highest rates in the country…

According to the article, more than five million Americans in 2009-10 reported using pain relievers without a prescription or only for the feeling they caused.

It’s a wonderful life, eh?