South Florida boy dies after contact with fentanyl, report says

Barsaba Taglieri
Luglio 19, 2017

Prosecutors believe a 10-year-old boy is one of the youngest victims of the opioid crisis raging through Florida and other parts of the country.

The Miami Herald reports preliminary toxicology reports show Alton Banks had the painkiller fentanyl in his system when he collapsed and died at his home on June 23.

Miami Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said authorities don't know whether he came in contact with the drug at the pool or while he was walking home.

No evidence suggests the fifth-grader came into contact with the fentanyl at his home, but authorities believe he may have unknowingly come into contact with the unsafe drug on the street.

His death is still under investigation but serves as a harsh reminder of just how unsafe fentanyl is.

Fentanyl is an opioid so potent that it can be absorbed into the body through inhalation or by making contact with the skin.

The boy began vomiting after coming home from an outing at a neighborhood pool, the Herald reported. Detectives said there's no evidence it was at his home and suspect he may have been exposed on his walk home in Miami's Overtown neighborhood, an area struggling with the opioid epidemic.

"He was out playing, like we want all our children to do". "We're anxiously hoping that someone comes forward to help us solve this horrific death".

The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner's office is still completing tests in the young boy's death, and a final report is pending.

The boy's mother, Shantell Banks, was informed of the preliminary findings last week. "Cam Newton was his favorite football player", she said.

Florida law calls for stiff minimum mandatory sentences for dealers caught with four grams or more of fentanyl, and a recent law will make it possible to charge dealers with murder if they shill out a fatal dose of the drug. But it won't go into effect until October 1, the Herald reported.

Almost 300 overdose deaths a year ago involved variants of fentanyl, according to the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner's Office.

In the first half of 2016, fentanyl and its analogs killed 853 people and contributed to 135 more deaths in Florida, state records analyzed by the Herald showed. Of those, only nine were under age 18.

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