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After tragedy, Brighton family pushes for safer opioid packaging

Jennifer Lewke
Updated: November 18, 2019 05:46 PM
Created: November 18, 2019 04:02 PM

BRIGHTON, N.Y. (WHEC) — Following a heartbreaking tragedy, a Brighton family is pushing for safer packaging of opioid products. 

The Gillans lost their 9-month-old baby girl, Maisie, after she ingested a pill that had fallen on the floor of a neighbor’s home. Now, they’re hoping to honor Maisie’s legacy by trying to prevent the same thing from happening to another family.

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“She was one of those kids who never had a bad day, she was always smiling,” Adam Gillan, Maisie’s dad, said.

Earlier this year, hours after attending a small dinner party with her parents at a neighbor’s house, Maisie became unresponsive and passed away.

“We were under the impression that our daughter died from SIDS for about the first 10 days and when we discovered she had overdosed on methadone, it was a true shock, reliving the experience moment by moment again,” Gillan said.

The pill was legally prescribed for pain to a woman who lived at the home where the dinner party was held, the investigation concluded it must have fallen out of the bottle at some point and the curious baby found it. 

“Maisie was on the ground for maybe five minutes. She was starting to walk so she definitely wanted to explore some spaces, there were six adults there, three of them were doctors and no one saw her put anything in her mouth at any point in time,” Gillan said. 

Through their heartbreak, the Gillans have made it their mission to protect other children from accidentally ingesting opioids. They’re pushing for safer packaging and on Monday enlisted the help of U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer.  

Senator Schumer says the FDA already has the power to force drugmakers to mandate all opioid-based products be placed in blister packaging but so far, the agency has not demanded it be done.  

“They have a lot on their plate, there has been cutbacks in staff which there should not be, this is about public safety and food and drugs but I haven't heard a good enough answer and that's why I'm here today,” Senator Schumer told News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke on Monday when asked why the FDA hasn’t acted.  

Monday was significant for the Gillans, not just because Senator Schumer joined them at their home to push for these changes but just after he left, they left for the hospital; they were being induced for the birth of their son. 

“It's uncontrollably painful that the two of our children will never meet each other in this world. If circumstances permit, our son's first stop will be to the cemetery on the way home,” Gillan said.


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