MIAMI (AP) — Prosecutors in Florida believe a 10-year-old boy who died with the painkiller fentanyl in his system is among the state’s youngest victims of the opioid crisis.
Preliminary toxicology tests show Alton Banks had fentanyl in his system when he collapsed and died at his home on June 23, the Miami Herald reported . Health officials say fentanyl and other synthetic forms of the drug are so powerful that just a speck breathed in or absorbed through the skin can be fatal.
That’s what investigators believe happened to Alton.
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 additional testing, and a final report is pending. A woman in the office who identified herself only as a records specialist said Tuesday officials won’t release the preliminary report.
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.
Reached by telephone, Banks told The Associated Press on Tuesday morning that she was unable to talk about her son’s death because she was in a meeting.
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 4 grams (0.14 ounces) or more of fentanyl or its variants. The law also makes it possible to charge dealers with murder if they provide a fatal dose of fentanyl or drugs mixed with fentanyl. The new law goes into effect Oct. 1.
Nearly 300 overdose deaths last year involved variants of fentanyl, according to the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office. Statewide, fentanyl and its analogs killed 853 people in the first half of 2016. Of those, only nine were under age 18.
Florida’s Largest Police Force Stops Detaining People Over Pot Smell
Beyond the Streets: Cannabis Isn’t the Only Counter Culture en Vogue
What’s in Your Stash? Sharon Letts, Producer, and Writer
Daniel Sloss: Sometimes They’re More Than Just Jokes
House Votes to Protect States With Legal Marijuana From Feds
Two Plead Guilty to Using United States Postal Service to Traffic Marijuana
Raid of Massive Illegal Cannabis Grow Site in California Took Four Days to Complete
What Was Said at Today’s Congressional Hearing on Federal Marijuana Law Reform
News5 days ago
Someone Planted 34 Cannabis Plants in the Vermont Statehouse Flower Beds
News3 days ago
Notorious Drug Kingpin ‘El Chapo’ Sentenced to Life in Prison
Entertainment5 days ago
Recreational Cannabis Comes to Northern Nights Music Festival
Culture5 days ago
What’s in Your Stash? Autumn Saylor, Stay-at-Home Mom, Treating PTSD With Cannabis
Activism4 days ago
Navigating Child Protective Services When You Use Cannabis
Health2 days ago
Cannabis and Mental Health: Bipolar Disorder
News3 days ago
West Hollywood Set To Get “First of Its Kind” Cannabis Café
Sponsored3 days ago
I Take CBD Oil. Will I Pass a Drug Test?