CONCORD, N.H. — A woman in labor demanded a friend inject her with heroin and methamphetamine before firefighters arrived at their home and she gave birth while entering an ambulance, New Hampshire police said Wednesday.
Police in Concord arrested Felicia Farruggia, 29, of Concord, this week, about six months after her son was born. He is in state custody.
Police also arrested Rhianna Frenette, 37, of Belmont, who is accused of giving Farruggia the drugs. They’re charged with felony reckless conduct. Frenette also faces a misdemeanor count on the same offense.
“This case is just, honestly, absolutely appalling in my mind,” Lieutenant Sean Ford said. “No one died, but the risk to that child and to the mother. … This stuff is just getting out of control.”
Both women were arraigned from jail on Wednesday; bail was set at $25,000 for Frenette and $15,000 for Farruggia. It wasn’t immediately known whether they had attorneys; the public defender’s office in Concord said it had no record that the cases were assigned.
Police say Frenette used an unsanitary syringe to try to inject Farruggia at least once before she was successful. After that, Farruggia’s boyfriend called 911. Shortly afterward, firefighters arrived, and Farruggia gave birth while entering the ambulance.
A police affidavit said while at the hospital, the baby was in stable condition but was breathing rapidly, something that could have been caused by a number of conditions. His urine was positive for methamphetamine and amphetamine. His mother’s urine was positive for those drugs and benzodiazepine.
According to the affidavit, Farruggia said she started having contractions, went to the bathroom and lay on the floor. She asked Frenette to come in, as she was screaming and crying and said, “I can’t do this,” referring to the labor pain. She said Frenette had heroin and told her “it would take the edge off.” She said she didn’t stop Frenette from injecting her.
But Frenette told police that when she went into the bathroom, she saw Farruggia trying to inject herself, essentially “mutilating herself with the needle,” which broke. Frenette said she took a used needle provided by someone else and “shot out probably more than half” of the substance inside it before injecting the rest into Farruggia. She said the ambulance was called after that.
Frenette told police she acknowledged that what she did was wrong, but believed that Farruggia would have injected herself with more of the drug, believed to be heroin, if she hadn’t intervened. Frenette also said she herself was likely high on methamphetamine.
Both women have criminal records; Farruggia also has been involved in “guardianship of a minor” cases, an individual parenting petition and a custody petition, going back to 2005.
A spokesman for the state Health Department, which oversees the Division of Children Youth and Families, said that in order to protect client confidentiality, he could not confirm whether the agency is involved in a case.