US Infants Become Unsuspecting Victims of Fentanyl Crisis

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More children below the age of 5 are dying or arriving in emergency rooms testing positive for the drug.

As the fentanyl crisis ravages U.S. communities, toddlers and infants increasingly are becoming unsuspecting victims of an opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin.

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While adults make up the vast number of fentanyl-related deaths, more children below the age of 5 are dying or arriving in emergency rooms testing positive for the drug, public health experts say.

“The number of drug overdoses nationwide has fallen for the first time in years, but the incidences of children overdosing has surged, doctors say, as they are exposed to opioids and drug paraphernalia at home or by accidental ingestion,” reported Los Angeles Times on Wednesday.

Although West Virginia has the highest fentanyl-related death rate, California has the most deaths overall, with 6,473 in 2022. Officials nationwide are struggling to come up with solutions to prevent young children from dying, according to the report.

19-month-old Enora Lavenir died at a #Florida #Airbnb after an apparent fentanyl exposure. Her parents are now suing Airbnb, the property owner, the rental manager and a previous renter. @NatashaZouves speaks with the family’s lawyer.

More: https://t.co/7SyqSioILb pic.twitter.com/LpLnVVJucW

— NewsNation (@NewsNation) March 6, 2023

“If you have these children that are left in chaotic homes, in homes that have … drugs around, that just increases the risk exponentially, particularly for these little vulnerable kids that explore their world by putting everything in their mouths,” Emily Rose, co-author of a study about recognizing and treating pediatric and adolescent opioid overdoses, was quoted as saying.

America’s Poison Centers, which represents 55 accredited poison control centers in the United States, reports a dramatic increase in fentanyl exposure in young children nationwide. In 2016, the centers received 10 reports of fentanyl exposure in children under age 6. That number was 539 in 2023.

In California, preliminary data from the Department of Public Health show 11 fentanyl-related deaths occurred in the state in children younger than 5 years old during the first three quarters of 2023, the most recent statistics available. There were 10 deaths for all of 2022 and six fentanyl-related deaths in 2021.

#FromTheSouth News Bits | Mexico and the United States agree to greater collaboration against fentanyl. pic.twitter.com/X4keRY3tvU

— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) June 1, 2023

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