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This year, a Massachusetts woman was sentenced to life in prison after she was found guilty in the death of her 4-year-old daughter, whose blood had a lethal level of a hypertension drug used to sedate children with ADHD.

Her husband, who was tried separately, was convicted of first-degree murder, according to CNN affiliate NECN.

In extreme cases such as these, the law determines whether the parent or caregivers' actions are criminal, said Dr.

Lawrence Diller, who practices behavioral-developmental pediatrics in Walnut Creek, California.

One mom, Jill Smokler, said she doesn't vilify parents who medicate their kids: "It's not the end of the world." "It's certainly better than being pushed to edge, spanking a child or slamming doors or really losing it," she said.

But drugging children with over-the-counter or prescription medications can have unintended consequences, said the author of a research published Thursday, who likened the practice to child abuse.

Four of them were ruled as homicides, three resulted in legal action against the mother, two were noted as highly suspicious and one included cocaine.

Why young children were given drugs such as antidepressants, stimulants and antipsychotics were also unclear.

A woman with three children told a jury yesterday how she was raped in a cubicle in a Surrey hospital by a male nurse who had given her an injection.

The research, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, found an average 160 annual cases in which pharmaceutical drugs were maliciously used on children.

"We believe the malicious use of pharmaceuticals may be an under-recognized form and/or component of child maltreatment," wrote the author, Dr. Using information from the National Poison Data System, Yin found that children were most commonly receiving analgesics, stimulants/street drugs, sedatives, hypnotics, antipsychotics and cough or cold medications. Of those, 14 percent resulted in injuries, and 18 children died.

Each case has different elements and motives, so it's hard to generalize whether deliberate medicating of a child is abuse, said James Hmurovich, the president and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America.

"If it's for medical a reason, that's one thing," Hmurovich said.

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