CINCINNATI (CN) – A church-run day care center gave children an “unprescribed sleep aid” to zonk them out for nap time and concealed it from their parents, according to a class action in Hamilton County Court. Parents say Covenant Apostolic Church workers gave kids a drug that cause “dizziness, grogginess, headaches, abdominal discomfort, confusion, nightmares and sedation,” and the “long term implications are not known at this time.”
Lead plaintiffs Joseph and Andrea Coleman say the church’s day-care workers gave children “unprescribed medication to sedate them while in the care, custody and control of Covenant.” They say the children were “drugged and sedated with unauthorized medication and such information was concealed,” and the children suffered “great physical and mental pain and anguish.”
Springfield Township Police, in suburban Cincinnati, told NBC they are investigating “allegations that some workers at the church’s day care put melatonin in candy to help children sleep.”
The police department sent letters to parents whose children attend the day care center to inform them of the investigation.
In a public statement on Channel 5 Cincinnati’s Web site, Springfield Police said, “We don’t know how long this went on, how many people were affected or how many people at the day care may have been involved.”
Melatonin is hormone naturally occurring in the body, produced by the pineal gland. It is believed to regulate sleep and wake cycles. Melatonin has been available as a dietary supplement in the United States since 1993 and is not regulated by the FDA, though it is illegal in many other countries.
The parents seek damages for negligence and battery. They are represented by Alan Statman with Statman, Harris & Eyrich.