Jersey Shore mother pleads guilty in baby’s methadone death

    Image courtesy of the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office.

    Image courtesy of the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office.

    A New Jersey mother who prosecutors say gave her 7-month-old daughter methadone is pleading guilty over the baby’s death.

    The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office says 32-year-old Lisa Scalia entered a guilty plea Thursday to a charge of second-degree aggravated manslaughter.

    As part of a deal with prosecutors, Scalia must spend eight years in state prison, and will not be eligible for parole until she serves over six years of her sentence.

    The child had been found unconscious at her mother’s Monmouth Avenue home in Ventnor on Jan. 3 and died five days later at a hospital. Scalia had rolled onto the child while she was high on drugs, but it was determined the baby’s cause of death was due to methadone.

    Scalia “recklessly caused the [child’s] death under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, specifically by administrating methadone,” an Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office release said. 

    Methadone is a medication that reduces withdrawal symptoms in people addicted to heroin and other opioids without generating a high.  

    Authorities have said Scalia had 34 bags of heroin and 10 oxycodone pills.

    She was initially charged on Jan. 4 with with endangering the welfare of a child and four counts of possession of controlled dangerous substances before the aggravated manslaughter charge was filed in late September.

    —————————————————————-

    The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.