A ten-month-old baby girl from Massachusetts had to be revived twice after ingesting fentanyl, a potent opioid that is now being mixed with heroin. The baby is another victim of the opioid crisis that has spread throughout the United States. No one has been charged with the 1child’s exposure to the drug, although the girl is not staying with the mother.
The accident happened Saturday in a home at Tree Top Way when the baby’s home called the police because she had trouble breathing. The infant was taken to Lawrence General Hospital, where she stopped breathing twice and had to be resuscitated.
The baby was later flown by helicopter to Tufts Medical Center in Boston. On Monday, police said she was in stable condition after being exposed to fentanyl. Tests were positive for the powerful synthetic painkiller, a drug used by anesthesiologists for chirurgical procedures. Fentanyl has joined the opioid crisis and is illegally produced in China, Mexico, and other countries, and then smuggled into the United States.
Police Chief Joseph Solomon described the baby’s case as an unfortunate situation in which a dangerous drug ended up in the wrong hands, putting the little girl’s life at risk. Solomon said that the police goal is to find out how the substance ended up in the child’s system.
Police Lieutenant Michael Pappalardo stated that the girl could have ingested the drug by touching or putting something in her mouth that had fentanyl on it. He explained in a press conference outside the police station that even small amounts, especially in a baby, could be deadly.
Pappalardo said the case was disconcerting and heartbreaking adding that is challenging to deal with a young child who has become a victim of the opioid crisis.
The baby will be staying with her aunt and not with her mother
Lieutenant Pappalardo stated that the child’s mother has been cooperating with the investigation. She had had problems with drugs in the past, and police found paraphernalia in her car.
Michael Quinn, attorney, and neighbor of the baby girl mother’s, stated that her client had drug problems before but has been in treatment and undergoing regular drug testing for about a year.
Quinn added that the paraphernalia found in the mother’s vehicle was at least several months old. Officers did not identify other illegal substances in the home or car.
Still, the State Department of Children and Families took custody of the baby, said department spokeswoman Andrea Grossman.
The ten-month-old girl was released Monday into the temporary custody of the mother’s older sister. The mother expressed she hopes to regain custody.
Police Chief Salomon stated that the department does not plan on arresting the child’s mother, the Eagle-Tribune reports. If charges are filed, a summons will be issued, and the district attorney will prosecute the case.
“The opioid epidemic knows no boundaries,” Mayor Stephen Zanni said in a press statement. “We must continue to be vigilant in ensuring that children do not have access to harmful substances and to do everything we can to fight the disease of addiction.”
Statistics from the U.S Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Agency for the state of Massachusetts show that among the 693 people whose deaths were opioid-related in 2016, 510 of them -74 percent- had a positive screen result for fentanyl.
Fentanyl was linked to 754 overdose deaths in Massachusetts alone in 2015. The drug accounts for more than half of all opioid-related deaths in the state, federal officials reports.
Source: The Boston Globe