3 young children in Pierce County exposed to fentanyl, 2-year-old girl dies
Sep 19, 2023, 1:55 PM | Updated: Sep 20, 2023, 8:52 am
(Photo By Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Deputies in Pierce County said a toddler died from a fentanyl overdose last weekend. They added the little girl was one of three children who were exposed to deadly opioids in their homes last weekend.
County deputies said they were called to a Spanaway home Saturday by a father who said he woke up to find his 2-year-old daughter not breathing. The girl was later pronounced dead.
“The medical examiner’s office performed an autopsy and discovered pills inside of the 2-year-old’s stomach and said that the 2-year-old had a large amount of fentanyl in (her) system,” Pierce County Public Information Officer Sergeant Darren Moss said.
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Moss said the next day detectives rushed to a Puyallup home where a baby had passed out.
“The father had some foil in his pocket that fell on the ground, and he thinks that the six-month-old put it in their mouth,” Moss explained. “That foil was used to smoke fentanyl and that’s how the child was exposed.”
The baby recovered. The infant’s three-year-old brother was checked out at a hospital where he also tested positive for fentanyl exposure.
The baby’s dad was arrested for reckless endangerment. The father of the toddler who died in Spanaway was arrested on suspicion of first-degree manslaughter.
“Both of those families are going to be torn apart and heartbroken for a very long time over this and at the end of the day, no drug is worth your child’s life,” Moss said.
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The Pierce County Health Department said opioid-related overdoses are now the most common cause of accidental death in the county, killing more people than car crashes or shootings.
“If you have a family member that’s struggling, they need help right now,” Moss emphasized. “If you have an addiction yourself, you need help right now. You can’t have this stuff around your families.”
It’s a message that a Western Washington couple, Cody and Krista, took to heart. They were interviewed for KIRO Newsradio’s 2023 series “Facing Fentanyl” about how they got into treatment in order to regain custody of their son and baby.
“That it’s the worst thing and they need to get off of it,” Krista said. “They just need to stay away from it and it’ll ruin their life in a snap of a finger.”
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“Not only will it ruin their life,” Cody interjected, “they need to think about the other people around them that they’re hurting too. They’re not just hurting themselves, they’re hurting their family. They’re hurting their kids.”
You can find more information on treatment for opioid use disorder from the Pierce County Health Department website.