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Couple Charged After Toddlers Eat Prescription Sedatives, Hospitalized

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Mary Robb Jackson Mary Robb Jackson
Mary Robb Jackson joined KDKA-TV as a general assignment reporter in...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A couple is charged with endangering their 2-year-old twins.

Police say their actions allowed the kids to get a hold of – and take – prescription medication.

The children’s mother, and her husband, told police that the babies somehow climbed to a windowsill and opened the child-proof cap on a sedative prescribed for the man.

No one was sure how much of the drug the children ate, but it was enough to send them to the hospital.

“Something that happened,” said the children’s grandmother, Carol Strasser. “It was an accident. The kids took some freakin’ pills.”

The pills the children took were a popular sedative called “Klonopin” — or its generic form “Clonazapam.”

“They’re using it more for anxiety now,” said pharmacist Lea Grondsiowski. “Before it was maybe seizure disorders.”

Klonopin has a laundry list of potential side effects, including drowsiness and lack of coordination.

“Talking about toxic levels – you’re looking at respiratory distress,” Grondsiowski said.

That Sunday, in Moon Township, paramedics called police to a house on Cedar Drive.

Police found twin toddlers, 2 years old, with blue residue around their mouths. The babies were a boy and a girl named Truth and Love.

“The officers found that there were two 2-year-old children in the residence who apparently had ingested some medication called Klonopin,” said Moon Township Police Cpt. Gregory Seamon.

Both babies were hospitalized – one in intensive care.

According to the criminal complaint, the mother, 30-year-old Kelly Strasser, and her husband, 65-year-old James Appleman were sleeping when they heard pounding.

“And when they went up, they found the kids with the blue pills on the floor, crushing them and eating them,” Seamon said.

The Klonopin was prescribed for Appleman who said it was on a high windowsill. Police didn’t think so.

“Because it appeared that the kid had no way to get to that bottle,” Seamon said.

The family was living in one room while remodeling was going on, but officers say the place was also in deplorable condition.

“There was no heat, no running water,” he said. “The only heat was from an electric heater in the bedroom they were all staying in.”

An electric line was coming from the grandmother’s home next door.

Carol Strasser says the twins are now OK.

“They’re fine now,” she said.

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