An 18-month old boy died from a suspected opioid overdose Sunday in Ohio after his 9-year-old brother saw him playing with a drug baggie belonging to their mother.
The infant’s brother called police to their home in Akron, Ohio, Thursday after he saw that the baby had stopped breathing. First responders gave the baby one dose of the overdose reversal drug Narcan at the home before rushing him to a hospital. A second dose of Narcan by paramedics stabilized the infant, but he died Sunday at Akron Children’s Hospital, reports NBC News.
Gary Guenther, chief investigator for the Summit County Medical Examiner, said the unidentified infant is the youngest he’s seen to die from a suspected opioid overdose.
“We haven’t done the exam yet,” Guenther told NBC News. “Right now his death is being classified as a suspicious death of an 18-month-old. When he was brought in, it was as a suspected opioid overdose.”
The mother, Destaine Carter, originally dialed 911 but hung up before officers could get an address Thursday. The 9-year-old boy tried to get his mom back on the phone to speak with the dispatcher but was unsuccessful. The mother fled the scene when police arrived and was later arrested in another county for an outstanding warrant.
The infant’s brother is currently in the custody of Summit County Children Services.
“He’s a hero,” Lt. Rick Edwards, with the Akron Police Department, told Fox 8 Friday. “He did everything he can do and anything we’d expect. But at this age its heartbreaking to put the 9-year-old in that position where you have to call police and paramedics for 1-year-old.”
Ohio is being hit particularly hard by the national opioid epidemic, which claimed a record 33,000 lives in the U.S. in 2015. Heroin deaths increased by nearly 20 percent in 2015, claiming 1,444 lives. Officials in Ohio say that opioids are also the main driver of a 19 percent spike in the number of kids removed from parental custody to foster care since 2010.
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