Two babies from separate households die of suspected drug overdoses north of Brisbane
Des Houghton reported in The Courier-Mail on 12 June the shocking death of two young boys from suspected drug overdoses in separate tragedies north of Brisbane. The deaths have again raised questions about failures by the Child Safety department to protect vulnerable children.
TWO babies have died from suspected drug overdoses in separate tragedies just a short drive from where Mason Jet Lee died north of Brisbane.
A Caboolture hospital source said the deaths of the one and two-year-old boys from different households again raised questions about failures by the Child Safety department to protect vulnerable children.
A nurse’s note said a child died at Morayfield late on the afternoon of May 11 from a possible amphetamine overdose after a seven-year-old boy ran to a neighbour’s house to say his baby brother was not breathing.
“We have been told he couldn’t find his mum so he ran to the neighbour’s house across the road and asked a woman to phone Triple 0,’’ the nurse said.
“When the ambulance arrived the child was not breathing. The mother was nowhere to be found. The ambulance did not transport the boy because he had already died.”
The nurse said police were investigating stories of amphetamine use at the house.
A Queensland Police media spokesman confirmed police were still investigating the death.
Two days later at Caboolture, an ambulance crew found the semiconscious two-year-old boy. He could not be saved.
“He subsequently passed away in Caboolture hospital from suspected methamphetamine poisoning,” a nurse said.
The nurses were told not to speculate on how the children came to ingest the drugs.
However one said illicit drugs were sometimes used by drug-taking parents to placate crying children.
A Caboolture doctor said drug abuse was “rampant” in the district, yet Child Safety continued to send children back to homes where parents or carers were known drug users.
A Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women spokesperson said they could not publicly comment about whether an individual child or young person was known to the agency.
A coronial inquiry found the Child Safety department failed in “nearly every way possible” to protect Mason Jet Lee who was allowed to return to his house where his mother and stepfather were known users of methylamphetamine.
Mason Lee was allowed to return to his mother’s home before his death.
Lee’s tragic life and death, exposed in the Sunday Mail in 2016, led to his Anne-Maree Lee and stepfather William O’Sullivan being sent to jail.
Latest figures from Child Safety point to massive drug and alcohol abuse in homes where children are known to the department.
In December 2019, 66 per cent of households where children were feared to be in harm had one or both parents with drug and alcohol problems.
Half of all those families known to the department had been impacted by domestic violence in the previous 12 months.
Sadly, 42 per cent of the parents had themselves been abused as a child. And more than half the parents had a criminal history and more than half had a parent with a diagnosed mental illness.
This has left us sad and frustrated by the current system. We would like to hear your experiences and thoughts on child safety reporting. Send us a confidential email to email@example.com