Girl, 5, calls cops when 'Daddy' OD's on heroin

Posted: June 08, 2012

THINKING that her "daddy" was dead, a 5-year-old girl called Upper Darby police Wednesday night, who responded to her home and determined that her father had passed out from a heroin overdose.

"A 5-year-old daughter witnessing her father overdosing on drugs - that's something she'll remember forever," said Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood.

About 9:30 p.m., the girl called 9-1-1 and said that her "Daddy" had fallen off a chair in the basement and had blood on his eye and that she couldn't wake him.

Police said that when they arrived at the house on Vernon Road, the little girl let them in and led them to her father, Jason Feranti, 31.

Police were able to shake Feranti awake. On a desk nearby they found two syringes, a bent spoon, a cotton ball, numerous torn plastic baggies and blue waxed paper, all of which are items used to inject heroin, Chitwood said.

Feranti was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, recklessly endangering another person and drug offenses.

The girl was placed in the custody of her grandmother, and Delaware County Children and Youth Services was notified concerning the incident, Chitwood said.

"The sad thing is, it just goes to show you the scourge of heroin abuse," he said. "They don't care. What the hell happens if she gets a hold of the needle or swallows something?"

Chitwood said that last night's incident is emblematic of a much bigger problem in Upper Darby.

Between Jan. 1, 2011, and May 3 of this year, there have been 14 heroin overdose deaths in Upper Darby and 66 heroin overdose cases in which victims survived.

"The heroin problem is epidemic out here and it leads to other crimes," Chitwood said.

"When we catch burglars and debrief them, it's heroin addicts who are doing the reaping and pillaging."

Contact Stephanie Farr at 215-854-4225 or, or follow on Twitter @FarFarrAway. Read her blog, "Daily Delco" at

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