RADFORD — A city woman is charged with giving a 10-year-old boy Suboxone so that she could use his urine to pass a drug screen.
“It’s hard to think of a more appalling set of facts,” Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jason Annis said Tuesday.
The Suboxone made the boy very sick, Annis said, but the effects seemed to pass. “It’s lucky for everyone involved he didn’t overdose. He could have died,” Annis said during a bond hearing in Radford Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
Judge Stephanie Murray Shortt denied bond for Katie Sowers Hinkley, 29. The judge approved Annis’ request to amend two drug distribution charges filed against Hinkley to two counts of distributing a Schedule III drug to a minor. If convicted, Hinkley would face a sentence of 10 to 50 years in prison on each count.
The unusual allegations stem from Hinkley’s attempt to renew her prescription for the opiate addiction treatment medication, according to Annis and search warrants filed in the case. To renew the Suboxone prescription, Hinkley first had to pass a drug test that had to show Suboxone but not illegal drugs, Annis said.
Hinkley apparently did not think she would be able to pass the test herself. Her sister, an adult, told investigators that for months, she had been giving Hinkley her urine to turn in before renewing the Suboxone prescription, Annis said.
But this month, the prosecutor said, Hinkley decided to collect urine from the 10-year-old son of her boyfriend, with whom she lived in the 2000 block of West Main Street. In a text message that Annis read in court, Hinkley told her sister to keep all urine “from little man.”
On the mornings of Oct. 4 and Oct. 5, Hinkley gave the boy an orange pill, the boy later told police. He became sick at school, and the department of social services and police were notified. Officers went to the home shared by Hinkley, her boyfriend and the 10-year-old. The boy vomited repeatedly while police were at the residence, Annis said.
Hinkley’s boyfriend told police that her Suboxone came in the form of orange, 8 mg pills, a search warrant said.
Confronted by investigators, Hinkley laughed and said she had not realized the boy would show effects of the drug at school, Annis said.
The boy said that Hinkley had him urinate into a “long, yellow bottle,” according to a search warrant.
Annis said that in the home’s refrigerator, police found an energy drink bottle that matched the boy’s description and that smelled of urine. Officers collected another bottle that smelled of urine from a cabinet beneath a sink, he said.
Police also seized a container with six blue pills and half an orange pill, medication bottles, a cell phone, three smoking devices and a bag of green plant material from the West Main Street residence, according to a search warrant.
Police returned to the residence after Hinkley called her boyfriend from jail and said that she had hidden her Suboxone under a bed, according to the warrant. Officers searched but did not find the medication.
In court, Hinkley said that she started taking Suboxone to battle a heroin addiction. She said that after being in jail without Suboxone for more than a week, she no longer needed it.
Hinkley said that she was confident that she would not be convicted on the drug distribution charges.
She also noted that her relationship with her boyfriend had ended after she was accused of having his son take Suboxone.