Original article no longer available
Sep 14, 2007 09:34 AM CDT
By JOSEPH S. PETE, Staff writer
GREENWOOD, Ind. – A Center Grove area woman is accused of feeding her 12-year-old daughter applesauce spiked with Prozac every night for the past six months.
Karen Walsh, 51, 3712 Chancellor Drive, Greenwood, was arrested on a charge of neglect of a dependent, a Class D felony that carries a sentence of up to three years in prison.
Walsh told police she gave her child the antidepressant without the girl’s knowledge to help her sleep.
The child is now in the custody of her father, who was unaware that the girl was being fed Prozac, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Doug Cox said.
No doctor diagnosed the girl as needing the medication or prescribed it to her.
When not prescribed, Prozac can cause a range of medical problems including heightened suicidal tendencies, three physicians told police.
The Division of Family and Children’s Services received a complaint that Walsh was giving her child Prozac and notified police, who questioned her Tuesday.
Walsh, who was taking Prozac prescribed to her, said she didn’t want to take her daughter to the doctor for her sleeping problem because she knew he would tell her to stop giving the child Prozac, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Walsh told police she knew giving her child Prozac was wrong and could harm her health, according to the affidavit.
When asked by a detective, she described in detail the side effects an incorrect dosage could cause, such as permanent neurological damage.
She told police she gave her daughter about 10 mg per day, which she described as a “clinical dose.”
Every night, she took a 20 mg time-released capsule and broke it open, emptying out the powder. She divided the powder into equal amounts, mixing half into her daughter’s applesauce.
Walsh sometimes had to wake her from sleeping to give her the spiked applesauce, she told police.
Police required Walsh to sign a statement that she wouldn’t give her daughter any medication in any form.
A physician will need to monitor the girl’s health as she gradually stops taking Prozac, Cox said. She will need to stay on a reduced dosage for a while so sudden withdrawal doesn’t endanger her health.
“She won’t be able to safely quit cold turkey,” Cox said.
Walsh was released from the jail Wednesday on $3,000 bond.
— From WISH-TV newsgathering partner The Johnson County Daily Journal