Opioids are suspected in death of toddler at a US day care

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NEW YORK – The call came in Friday afternoon: Three children at a tiny, ground-floor day care in the Bronx could not wake up from naptime.

Emergency medical workers arrived at the six-storey brick building around 2.45pm to find a 1-year-old unconscious, along with a 2-year-old boy and an 8-month-old girl. The responders at once suspected drugs.

They gave the young children the overdose-reversal medication Narcan and took them away. Another 2-year-old-boy, who had left the day care shortly after noon, was taken to a hospital after his mother noticed that an unusual lethargy had replaced the normal kinetic energy of a toddler.

Nicholas Dominici, who would have turned 2 in November, was pronounced dead at Montefiore Medical Centre on Friday.

By early Saturday, the other three children were in critical or stable condition, and the police were questioning a person after discovering equipment typically used by drug dealers on the premises.

Nicholas’ death brought together two crises that afflict New York and the nation at large: working parents’ desperate hunt for affordable, dependable child care and the scourge of opioids such as fentanyl, which contributed to about 75,000 overdose deaths in the United States last year. The Bronx has been hit particularly hard by the drug, which can kill in minute quantities.

“This crisis is real, and it is a real wake‑up call for individuals who have opioids or fentanyl in their homes,” Mayor Eric Adams said at a briefing just after midnight.

On Saturday, at least one person was in police custody and being questioned, according to the police.

After an autopsy Saturday, the New York City medical examiner’s office said further examination was needed to determine Nicholas’ cause of death. The police did not name the person or people whom they had in custody Saturday.

Mr Joseph Kenny, the Police Department’s chief of detectives, said at the news briefing that suspicions about opioid exposure were prompted by the children’s symptoms and by the discovery of a so-called kilo press – commonly used by drug dealers when packaging large quantities of drugs – at the day care during a search.

There were 2,668 fatal overdoses in the city in 2021, reaching “unprecedented levels,” according to data released by the city this year.

The increase was driven by fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that was involved in 80 per cent of overdose deaths that year, and residents of the Bronx had the highest rate of deaths, the city found.

The day care, Divino Nino, is in the 52nd Precinct in the northern portion of the Bronx, which is among the areas hardest hit by fatal overdoses.

EMEA Tribune is not involved in this news article, it is taken from our partners and or from the News Agencies. Copyright and Credit go to the News Agencies, email [email protected]

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