Girl, 12, Dies of Methadone Bought from Boy, 15


YONKERS, N.Y. (AP) -- A 12-year-old girl died of a methadone overdose after taking pills she bought from a 15-year-old boy, authorities said.

The boy has been charged as a juvenile with criminally negligent homicide, criminal sale of a controlled substance and endangering the welfare of a child, his lawyer said Wednesday.

The boy took the pills - knowing what they were - from his father's drawer March 10 and brought them to the girl, Dana Marie Regan, police youth investigator Charles Lopez testified Wednesday in Family Court in Westchester County. Methadone is best known as a prescription drug that curbs heroin addiction, but it increasingly is prescribed as a painkiller.

Lopez said the boy told him he and a male friend each took two pills, and Dana downed about four. The boy told Lopez he soon felt sick and went home, leaving Dana with his friend, the investigator testified.

The girl was found dead the next day.

The boy's lawyer, Kenneth L. Bunting, noted that Lopez' testimony differed from the boy's signed statement to police. The statement doesn't mention the boy taking money for the drugs and doesn't include some details Lopez described, Bunting said.

Dana's mother, Cindi Brink, said her daughter "wasn't perfect, but she was a good and beautiful girl. ... Dana was a free spirit with a good head on her shoulders."

The number of methadone deaths nationwide rose from 786 in 1999 to 4,462 in 2005, according to the latest federal data available. Officials say the drug's rising use as a pain medication is fueling the increase in deadly overdoses.

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