A group of children, all under the age of eight, required hospital treatment on Wednesday for a suspected overdose after they were given sleeping pills by another 7-year-old child, authorities say.
The Hopewell Police Department (HPD) responded to an emergency call at the home on South 16th Street in Hopewell around 5:30 p.m. and found four children, ages 1 to 4, unresponsive, WTVR-TV reported.
Three more children were found in a different part of the home, police said. These children were awake but appeared to be in a lethargic state.
“They were left unsupervised for a short period of time and one of the kids that have prescription medication got into it and shared with the other children here,” HPD Lieutenant Cheyenne Casale said.
All minors were immediately rushed to the hospital, while the two youngest children were transported to another facility in a serious condition.
“I don’t know the details of their treatment but some are being transported to other hospitals for further treatment,” Casale said.
Police were notified by someone who was babysitting the children and found some of them unresponsive upon returning from a corner store.
Casale said the primary focus is now getting all seven children in a safe environment and then finding out who is going to be held accountable.
A preliminary investigation found that a 7-year-old child gave the other children his sleeping pills. The recovered pill bottle didn’t have a label on it but after questioning the child and consulting with doctors, they were able to determine the medication was sleeping pills.
Police said the children are expected to recover and Child Protective Services have been notified.
“They are expected to recover, but because they don’t know exactly how much of the prescription medication they ingested … they are having a harder time processing and metabolizing [the drug],” the HPD told WRIC.
Police said the investigation is ongoing.