MIAMI — A Florida prosecutor has confirmed that a Miami boy died from a fentanyl overdose after visiting a local pool, but authorities don’t know how he came into contact with it.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon that preliminary findings show fentanyl killed 10-year-old Alton Banks.
Rundle says investigators don’t believe Alton got the dangerous opioid at his home. She says the boy could have simply touched the substance, explaining that it could have been on a towel at the pool. He also could have been exposed on his walk home in Miami’s Overtown community, which has been hard-hit by the opioid epidemic.
Health officials say fentanyl is so powerful that just a speck breathed in or absorbed through the skin can be fatal.
An assistant fire rescue chief in Miami says the neighborhood where the boy died has seen a dramatic rise in overdoses from the drug.
Pete Gomez calls the situation an epidemic, telling The Associated Press the overdoses come “in every form of human life.”
Officials say Alton started vomiting after coming home from the pool outing and was found unconscious and died on the evening of June 23.
Gomez says some streets in the neighborhood are littered with used needles. First responders wear protective clothing, including coveralls, long sleeves, gloves and masks to protect themselves.
Gomez added that crews often cut the pockets of victims to make sure they don’t prick themselves when patting them down.
Prosecutors believe Banks is among the state’s youngest victims of the opioid crisis.