PORT ANGELES — The mother of an 8-year-old boy who swallowed four hits of LSD she had hidden in a refrigerator will avoid a charge of gross misdemeanor reckless endangerment.
The Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will not file a criminal complaint against the 26-year-old woman, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Roberson said.
Her son was unresponsive when paramedics arrived at about 5 p.m. April 19 at the woman’s Port Angeles home, said Brian King, Clallam County Sheriff’s Office chief criminal deputy.
She said she found her son lying in the living room “tripping” after he told her he was “feeling funny” before discovering the LSD was missing, immediately calling 9-1-1 and asked for paramedics, King said.
He said the mother had left the drug in paper blotter form for several months in the refrigerator.
The LSD was wrapped in tin foil and placed in a box in a broken ice-maker drawer in the refrigerator, Roberson said.
The boy was airlifted to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma, a pediatric trauma center.
King was unaware of the boy’s condition.
“As far as I know, by the time we received the referral, he was doing better and there wasn’t any permanent damage or anything,” Roberson said.
The sheriff’s office referred the case to the prosecuting attorney’s office for the reckless endangerment charge.
The maximum sentence is 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Roberson said Tuesday he could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the woman acted recklessly under state law.
State law requires her to know and disregard the risk that her son would have found and ingested the LSD, and that her disregard was “a gross deviation” from conduct of a reasonable person in a similar situation.
“Given the extent of how she tried to hide the LSD in the ice drawer and that she was unaware of the child ever accessing the freezer or being able to access the freezer because of his height, I didn’t think I could prove that,” Roberson said.
He further outlined his decision in a memo.
“There is no evidence that the drugs were left out or that the child typically accessed the freezer due to his height,” he said.
“There is no information the child knew of the drugs in the freezer even,” he said, adding that the woman’s husband said he did not know what was in the box.
“This scenario is more like cases where children accidentally get into a medicine cabinet or cleaning liquids.
“While the decision to have LSD in the home is concerning, at the time this occurred, possession of such drugs were effectively decriminalized under State v. Blake. And the entire situation appears to be a tragic accident.”
As of May 13, possession of LSD is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail on a third offense through mid-2023, when the penalty expires.
“They want diversion,” Roberson said Tuesday.
According to the National Institutes of Health, LSD is a colorless, odorless liquid that is found in a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. It is deemed a classic hallucinogen.
“Classic hallucinogens can cause users to see images, hear sounds, and feel sensations that seem real but do not exist,” according to the NIH at drugabuse.gov.
“The effects generally begin within 20 to 90 minutes and can last as long as 12 hours in some cases.”
Long-term effects, such as persistent psychosis, are rare, according to the NIH.
Three Canadian studies of people who had overdosed on LSD showed no long-lasting ill effects, according to medicalxpress.com.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.