Miami police, still rocked from the death of a 10-year-old who somehow came into contact with the potent painkiller fentanyl, have pieced together a video in the hope of warning the public about the dangers of the drug.
On June 23, after a swim in Overtown’s Gibson Park pool, Frederick Douglas Elementary fifth-grader Alton Banks walked home a few blocks, vomited, fell into unconsciousness and died.
Police and family members believe that at some point during his 10-block walk home, Banks came into contact with fentanyl, a powerful opioid that has been wreaking havoc across the country with drug abusers.
The neighborhood that Banks walked through in late June, near Northwest 10th Avenue and Fourth Street, is a known hot-bed for heroin and fentanyl sales.
Last week police implored the public to come forward with information that could help determine how Banks came into contact with the drug. However, it’s possible that they may never find the answer.
That’s because, according to a 1:56-second video that Miami police posted to Twitter this week, just a drop or two of the potent drug usually used as a tranquilizer on large elephants can be enough to kill a child.
And Banks could have come into contact with the drug by touching a bottle cap, a rubber band, or a spoon that was used to ingest the drug. The items are often adorned with colorful cartoon characters, brand logos and even ice cream flavors that can attract kids.
In the video, Miami police officer Nick Perez urges parents to watch their kids and tell them not to pick things up off the ground or accept candy from strangers. Children should also use proper hygiene and always clean themselves after coming into contact with something that might be dirty or contaminated, says Perez.
“Because of the colorful and playful nature of these items, they contribute to kids’ curiosity,” Perez says in the video.
In recent years, Miami and several other major cities have been flooded with different varieties of the illicit drug coming from Mexico and China. Last year in Miami-Dade, opioids contributed to over 500 deaths, more than half of them believed to be caused by fentanyl or a synthetic version.