As the opioid epidemic continues to spread throughout America, there was another sad reminder recently that the victims are not always drug users.
A young child was found dead in Michigan after ingesting a large dose of fentanyl, one of the most potent synthetic opioids available today and a significant cause of overdoses.
The child, Ava Lloyd, was a year and a half old at the time of her death. She was at home in Macomb County when she swallowed the drugs, which police say were being packaged and sold by her parents.
Charges Against Parents
A long list of charges has been brought against the parents in the wake of the child’s death, including manslaughter, second-degree murder, child abuse, and other charges related to the possession and intent to distribute narcotics.
The child passed away on Christmas Day, not long after ingesting the drugs and being taken to the hospital for urgent care.
The Macomb County prosecutor, Eric Smith, said the child most likely was exposed to the drug by drinking a drug-laced liquid. An autopsy revealed that the dose of fentanyl that killed the child was the largest seen in an overdose case in the county. The dose was over tens times that commonly found in other cases- which usually involve adults.
The child was found unconscious in a bathroom on Christmas Day and was taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead later that same day, in the afternoon.
Police say that the child was briefly at her grandmother’s house the day of her death, but that the grandmother is believed to have played no role and is not a suspect in the case.
Although Ava Lloyd’s case involved a much higher dose than normal, overdose cases involving fentanyl and other opioids have been a common occurrence in Macomb County recently. Fentanyl alone was responsible for nearly 200 deaths in 2017. The number of fentanyl deaths in 2011? 0.
Fentanyl in the United States
The fentanyl crisis that is currently wreaking havoc on Macomb County and nearby communities is far from an exception in the United States. Across the nation, fentanyl has left a deadly trail in its wake, killing thousands of people and decimating many communities. The drug has risen in popularity in part due to increased availability of imported versions of the drug. This makes it cheaper than many other options.
Fentanyl is so lethal because it is much stronger than other opiates, such as morphine or heroin, and it has become much cheaper recently. However, users are not always aware of the strength of the drug they are taking. Many drug dealers add fentanyl to mixtures of heroin.
Some may not even be aware that they are taking fentanyl, believing it to be heroin. Taking a dose of fentanyl that is equal to the normal dose of heroin many users would take is often lethal.
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