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Sunday, March 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

N. Idaho woman imprisoned for breastfeeding while on meth

Associated Press

SANDPOINT – A northern Idaho woman will spend up to a year in prison for exposing her child to methamphetamine while breastfeeding.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reported that 25-year-old Samantha Lee Caroline Morikawa was charged with attempted injury to a child for using the drug while breastfeeding from August 2015 to January. Separately, Morikawa was charged with aggravated assault because prosecutors said she attacked the child’s father while he was taking the child away from her after finding about the drug use.

First District Judge Barbara Buchanan sentenced her to up to four years in prison on each charge, but said if she successfully completes a prison treatment program she may be released early on probation. The prison treatment program typically takes less than a year.

Bonner County Deputy Prosecutor Katie Murdock said the so-called rider treatment program was needed because Morikawa’s record shows an increasing level of violence since 2012, as well as sustained drug use.

“We do think she needs more structured treatment in order to be able to get over that and to reduce the risk to her children,” said Murdock.

Deputy public defender Susie Jensen countered that Morikawa is enrolled in a substance abuse treatment program and has tested negative for drugs while on pretrial release.

According to court documents, Morikawa said she was unaware the drug would be passed on to her 5-month-old daughter. Morikawa is currently pregnant with her fourth child.

“I’m aware that the trouble I caused was not small at all. I’m trying really hard,” Morikawa said.

Buchanan said she appreciated Morikawa’s progress, but added that she doubted Morikawa would be able to recover from years of addiction so quickly.

“My job is to try to get you cleaned up and be productive but my most important job is to protect those children,” Buchanan said.

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