Infant found in critical condition in home with suspected fentanyl residue
Child believed to have been in contact with suspected fentanyl, police say
A child under 18 months old was taken to hospital in critical condition Tuesday night after being rescued from a North End Winnipeg home that contained what police suspect was fentanyl residue.
The child's condition has since been upgraded to stable and the prognosis is positive, said Winnipeg police spokesman Const. Rob Carver.
Police did not say whether the overdose reversal drug naloxone was used on the child.
Police suspect the child may have gone into distress after coming into contact with fentanyl at the Aikins Street home, but are waiting for Health Canada labs to confirm whether the substance was fentanyl.
"The drug is incredibly toxic. If it is fentanyl, these are the kind of risks that are present," said Carver.
Winnipeg police are expecting test results early next week. Still, they may not publicly say whether it was fentanyl in the home in order to protect the child's personal health information.
Fentanyl changing police responses
Due to the toxicity of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control describes as 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, Winnipeg police deployed their clandestine lab team at the infant's home.
Police cannot take any chances, said Carver, because it is possible to overdose on fentanyl simply by touching the drug.
Hazmat responses may become more commonplace in Winnipeg as use of the drug spreads, he said.
"This is new territory for everyone," said Carver.
"The drug is deadly and it's not just deadly to the people who are using it, it's deadly to people in the area and it's changing the nature of what first responders are dealing with."
Alycia Batson lives on Aikins Street with her young children and said the scare has her rethinking the family's trick or treating plans.
"It's a little bit scary that it's that close," Batson said. "I know for sure I'm not taking my children out for Halloween this year; we're going to the malls. I don't feel safe trick or treating over here — especially now."
Roxanna Spence, who also lives on Aikins, shares Batson's concerns.
"[It's] very scary, because I got kids upstairs, too," Spence said.
Charges could be laid
Carver said more information about the investigation will be released next week, including any potential charges.
"I don't want to say no charges," he said.
"We have investigators working on it. Certainly we are pursuing that avenue of investigation."
Possible charges a person or people in the home may face include child endangerment, said Carver.
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With files from Alana Cole