Manitoba

Parents charged after 9-month-old boy exposed to suspected fentanyl in Winnipeg home

The parents of a nine-month-old boy face child-neglect and drug charges after the infant became critically ill upon coming into contact with what police suspect was fentanyl powder inside a home in Winnipeg's North End last week.

Pair charged with failing to provide necessities of life, possession of fentanyl for trafficking

A nine-month-old boy was taken to hospital in critical condition from his home on Aikins Street, after he came into contact with a substance police believe was fentanyl. (CBC)

The parents of a nine-month-old boy face child-neglect and drug charges after the infant became critically ill upon coming into contact with what police suspect was fentanyl powder inside a home in Winnipeg's North End last week.

Parents charged after 9-month-old boy exposed to suspected fentanyl in Winnipeg home

CBC News Manitoba

5 years ago
1:40
A nine-month-old boy was taken to hospital in critical condition from his home on Aikins Street, after he came into contact with a substance police believe was fentanyl. A nine-month-old boy was taken to hospital in critical condition from his home on Aikins Street, after he came into contact with a substance police believe was fentanyl. (CBC) 1 share Facebook Twitter Reddit Google Share Email Related Stories Infant found in critical condition in home with suspected fentanyl residue Why harm reduction could help win the fight against fentanyl 'They don't want to die': Families who lost loved ones to opiates say government must do more Are your street drugs laced with fentanyl? A $5 test could tell you Nearly 25% of Manitoba paramedics can't dispense life-saving drug naloxone Distribution of fentanyl antidote 'not adequate' in Manitoba, health minister says Carfentanil has been in Winnipeg for months, recovering addict says 'There's going to be many mothers kneeling at coffins,' warns mom of recovering drug addict 'I don't want to lose any more friends,' woman says after man found dead in car The parents of a nine-month-old boy face child-neglect and drug charges after the infant became critically ill upon coming into contact with what police suspect was fentanyl powder inside a home in Winnipeg's North End last week. 1:40

More than 10 ounces of powder, or just under 300 grams, was seized by police after the boy was found experiencing "respiratory distress" by emergency responders at a house on Aikins Street around 5:30 p.m. CT on Oct. 18.

The boy was taken to hospital in critical condition, but he has since been upgraded to stable condition and the prognosis is positive, say police, who believe the infant may have become exposed to the powerful opioid but are still trying to determine how.

"Obviously a nine-month-old child is not walking around, typically, and would [not] necessarily have access to something like this or would ever have access to something like this," police spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen said Tuesday.

"Our investigation has taken us in a direction that the child may have had inadvertent contact with what we believe to be fentanyl, and this might be from hand-to-hand contact or clothing to the child or other items. We could talk about, you know, a bottle, a toy … there could have been some contamination on other items, a person within the residence, and now the child being exposed in some way."

Winnipeg police on dangers of fentanyl on young children

CBC News Manitoba

5 years ago
2:12
Winnipeg police Const. Jason Michalyshen talks about the dangers of fentanyl not only to adults but also to young children, after an infant was somehow exposed to a substance that police suspect is the powerful opioid. 2:12

A 33-year-old man and 32-year-old woman, described by police as the biological parents, were arrested on Monday and charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life, causing bodily harm by criminal negligence and possessing fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking. They are in custody.

Michalyshen said police are not aware of any other children in the home at the time of the incident.

"As a police service, I don't know what's more concerning when a child is put at risk like this, but I can tell you that these individuals are being held accountable for their actions," he said.

Antidote had 'immediate positive effect'

Michalyshen said someone within the Aikins Street home had called for help, but when emergency crews arrived, "information was not forthcoming" about what the boy may have been exposed to.

Emergency personnel contacted hospital staff when they spotted a "white powdered substance" in the home that they suspected may have been fentanyl, he said.

The infant was then given naloxone — an antidote drug also known by its brand name, Narcan, which is known to reverse the effects of an opiate overdose — and that produced an "immediate positive effect," said Michalyshen.

"Officers were able to quickly identify the potential hazard, notify medical staff, and it was at that point the appropriate medical measures were provided and, quite quickly, the child's condition improved," he said.

"I'm talking about naloxone, I'm talking about Narcan, where it was administered and very quickly the child's condition improved."

It's not clear if the boy remains in hospital as of Tuesday. Michalyshen would only say the child is "safe and in care."

Police seized up to half an ounce of loose powder and 10 ounces of bagged powder from the home, along with some cutting agent and a contaminated bowl and spoon, Michalyshen said.

Investigators will need laboratory test results before they can conclusively say the powder was fentanyl, he said.

However, police did not take any chances in seizing the powder and accessories. Members of the clandestine lab team, who are specially trained to work in potentially hazardous environments, were sent to the home as a safety measure due to the toxicity of fentanyl.

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