New Hampshire Daycare Workers Arrested For Allegedly Drugging Children’s Food With Sleep Aid

Four employees of an unlicensed daycare in Manchester, New Hampshire, have been charged with endangering the welfare of children after allegedly spiking the kids’ food with melatonin, a sleep supplement, without parental knowledge or consent. The arrests come following a six-month investigation initiated by a report of “unsafe practices” at the daycare in November 2023.

The arrested individuals include the daycare owner, Sally Dreckmann, 52, and three employees: Traci Innie, 51, Kaitlin Filardo, 23, and Jessica Foster, 23. Each faces 10 charges of endangering children.

According to the Manchester Police Department, detectives determined that the children’s food was being sprinkled with melatonin without their parents’ knowledge or consent. Melatonin, a hormone naturally produced by the body, is often used as an over-the-counter sleep aid.

While melatonin is generally considered safe for adults, the long-term effects on children are not well-known. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has issued a health warning regarding melatonin use in kids and adolescents, citing a lack of FDA oversight for the supplement.

The CDC has reported a significant increase in emergency department visits between 2012 and 2021 due to children accidentally ingesting melatonin. Dr. Aarti Grover of Tufts Medical Center cautioned that overdoses can occur when taking higher doses and that long-term use is not recommended, especially in children.

The suspects are scheduled to appear in court next month. The investigation also revealed that the daycare was operating without a license, which is legal in New Hampshire as long as no more than three children are cared for at a time.

Local residents expressed shock and outrage upon learning of the alleged actions at the daycare, with one grandparent describing the situation as “outrageous” and calling for the facility to be shut down.