Grade 5 boy among vic­tims of opi­oid cri­sis

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - JEN­NIFER KAY AND CURT AN­DER­SON

MI­AMI — Pros­e­cu­tors be­lieve a 10year-old boy who died at his home in a drug-rid­den Mi­ami neigh­bour­hood has become one of Florida’s lit­tlest vic­tims of the opi­oid cri­sis. But it’s un­clear how he came in con­tact with fen­tanyl — a drug so po­tent that even ac­ci­den­tal ex­po­sure can be dev­as­tat­ing.

Pre­lim­i­nary tox­i­col­ogy tests show Al­ton Banks had fen­tanyl in his sys­tem when he col­lapsed and died at his home on June 23, The Mi­ami Her­ald re­ported. The fifth­grader started vom­it­ing af­ter com­ing home from the neigh­bour­hood pool. He was found un­con­scious that evening and taken to the hos­pi­tal, where he was pro­nounced dead.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors said there is no ev­i­dence he came into con­tact with the drug at home. They think he may have been ex­posed to it at the pool or on his walk home in Mi­ami’s poor, high-crime Over­town neigh­bour­hood, which As­sis­tant Mi­ami Fire Chief Pete Gomez said has seen a spike in over­doses in the past year and where nee­dles some­times lit­ter the streets

“There is an epi­demic,” Gomez said. “Over­town seems to have the high­est per­cent­age of where these in­ci­dents are oc­cur­ring.”

De­tec­tives are still try­ing to piece to­gether the boy’s fi­nal day. The Mi­ami-Dade Med­i­cal Ex­am­iner’s Of­fi­cer is do­ing ad­di­tional test­ing, and a fi­nal re­port has yet to be re­leased. The boy’s mother, Shantell Banks, said her son was a “fun kid” who loved the NFL’s Pan­thers.

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