A Florida 10-year-old was claimed as the youngest victim of the opioid crisis that is gripping the United States.
The 10-year-old had reportedly stopped at the neighborhood pool before coming home from school. In the evening, the boy started vomiting, and then became unconscious.
He was declared dead at the hospital. The staff performed an autopsy, which revealed that they boy had died of a fentanyl overdose.
The Daily Mail reports:
Health officials say fentanyl, and other synthetic forms of the drug, is so powerful that just a speck breathed in or absorbed through the skin can be fatal.
That’s what investigators believe happened to Alton, who was set to turn 11 on July 22.
The fifth-grader started vomiting after coming home from an outing at the neighborhood pool. He was found unconscious that evening and rushed to the hospital where he was declared dead.
Investigators said there’s no evidence he came into contact with the drug at home. They think he may have been exposed to it at the pool or on his walk home in Miami’s Overtown community, which has been hard-hit by the opioid epidemic.
Detectives are still trying to piece together his final day. The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Officer is doing more testing, and a final report is pending.
But State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle spoke publicly about the case because of its unusual nature and the need for tips to find out how Alton came into contact with the drug.
‘He was out playing, like we want all our children to do. …,’ Rundle said.
‘We’re anxiously hoping that someone comes forward to help us solve this horrific death.’
The boy’s mother, Shantell Banks, was informed of the preliminary findings last week.
She was too distraught to speak to the Herald in depth, but said her son was a ‘fun kid’ who wanted to become an engineer and loved the Carolina Panthers. ‘Cam Newton was his favorite football player,’ she said.
Fentanyl is so powerful that some police departments have warned officers about even touching the drug.
Last year, three police dogs in Broward County got sick after sniffing the drug during a federal raid, officials said.
The Florida Legislature addressed the epidemic, passing a law that imposes stiff minimum mandatory sentences on dealers caught with 0.14 ounces or more of fentanyl or its variants.
Fentanyl is particularly dangerous because any contact with it can kill a person, especially a small child.
Authorities are warning that if you suspect any hard drugs in your area, to carefully watch your children, and immediately report any health concerns.