Grandma Charged After 8-Year-Old Grandson Finds Fentanyl Stash And Fatally Overdoses


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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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A grandmother in Michigan faces multiple charges after her 8-year-old grandson discovered a stash of fentanyl and suffered a fatal overdose.

Authorities charged 59-year-old Gail Townsend-Finley, a resident of Detroit with involuntary manslaughter and second-degree child abuse Friday over the tragic incident. Emergency personnel with the Detroit Fire Department responded to Townsend-Finley’s residence on Conley Street July 5, 2017, after receiving a call about a child who had stopped breathing, reports CBS 17.

Medics rushed 8-year-old Jamere Arnold to a local hospital where he died of cardiac arrest. Officials found Townsend-Finley’s grandson had fentanyl in his system when he died, a synthetic opioid 30 to 50 times more powerful than pure heroin. (RELATED: Mother Charged In The Overdose Death Of Nine-Month-Old Daughter)

“It was determined that the child died from fatal ingestion of fentanyl at the residence,” said Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Maria Miller, according to CBS 17. “It is alleged that the defendant left drugs accessible to her grandson, which resulted in Jamere’s death.”

Townsend-Finley is currently being held on a $50,000 bond.

Children are increasingly the victims of rampant drug addiction throughout the country. An Ohio mother and grandmother are facing multiple charges after an 11-month-old fell unconscious following exposure to cocaine and marijuana.

Local authorities in Elyria, Ohio, received an emergency call Feb. 2, claiming an infant banged their head on a bathroom sink and seemed tired. The child was taken to a local hospital and soon became unresponsive. After some difficulty, doctors revived the infant and performed blood tests that showed the baby had ingested cocaine and marijuana.

A 16-month-old baby suffered a near-fatal drug overdose in Delaware August 2017 after finding and ingesting heroin from his mother’s drug bags. An unnamed cousin brought the baby to a local hospital where personnel revived the boy with overdose reversal drug Narcan.

Drug overdose deaths surged in 2016 by 21 percent, claiming more than 64,000 lives, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. The increase is driven primarily by opioids, which claimed 42,249 lives in 2016, a 28 percent increase over the roughly 33,000 lives lost to opioids in 2015.

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