7-year-old girl alerts school officials after finding parents dead of suspected overdose
Two adults in Pennsylvania were found dead of suspected opiate overdoses after their 7-year-old daughter told school officials in McKeesport, Penn. she couldn’t wake them up.
The Allegheny County medical examiner says the bodies of 26-year-old Christopher Dilly and 25-year-old Jessica Lally were found Monday evening in their apartment in McKeesport, a city roughly 27 kilometres southeast of Pittsburgh.
Lt. Andrew Schurman told the Associated Press it appears the adults may have been dead for a day or two and believed the couple died from a drug overdose. Foul play isn’t suspected.
A 9-month-old girl, 3-year-old boy and 5-year-old boy who were inside the home were taken to a hospital to be evaluated.
Their 7-year-old daughter had mentioned on the bus that she dressed herself for school and left home Monday morning without being able to wake up her parents, Mckeesport Area School District officials said in a statement to WPXI-TV.
“Our school district took immediate action after we were notified of the concerns shared by one of our students on their route home,” school officials said. “We will be available for the family affected by this tragedy.”
Lally’s sister told WPXI-TV that Lally “wasn’t the person I knew” after falling deeply into heroin addiction.
“My sister wasn’t the person she became when it came to drugs. She wasn’t the person I knew. It was like the drugs had taken over and at first we didn’t know it was heroin,” Courtney Lally said. “She loved her kids — she did. She loved her mom, she loved me, she loved us.”
The deaths in Pennsylvania are the latest in a series of tragic incidents surrounding the opiate crisis that has gripped parts of the U.S. and Canada.
In 2015, more than 3,500 people died from drug overdoses in Pennsylvania, a 30 per cent increase from the previous year, according to a report from the Pennsylvania State Coroners Association. Opioids such as heroin and prescription painkillers were present in nearly 60 per cent of the deaths.
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Last month, an Ohio police department made the controversial decision to release photos of two adults who had overdosed on heroin in a vehicle with a 4-year-old child in the backseat.
Ohio is currently battling a heroin and opioid epidemic that has seen a record 3,050 people die of drug overdoses last year. Fatalities from Fentanyl rose to 1,155 in 2015, more than doubling the 503 deaths in 2014, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
Meanwhile, Canadian health officials have been battling the ongoing opioid crisis that has stretched across the country.
Global News reported last week that preliminary data from the Chief Coroner’s Office for 2015 showed there were 529 opioid overdoses in Ontario last year — 162 of which involved fentanyl.
B.C. has seen 371 drug deaths related to fentanyl between Jan. 1 and July 31 of this year, more than three times the 82 fentanyl-related deaths that occurred over the same period last year.
*With files from the Associated Press
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