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Medical Examiner Confirms Child Died From Fentanyl, Heroin

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Medical examiners determined a 10-year-old boy died from exposure to fentanyl and heroin.

The Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner's Office released the report Wednesday, naming Alton Banks' cause of death as 'acute combined drug toxicity.'

The 10-year-old's death, makes him the youngest known victim of the opioid crisis in the city, Miami's Police chief said back in July.

Despite confirming the cause, it's still not known how he came in contact with the drugs.

"Sadly, this is further validation of their increasing crisis in our community. Our community is not alone. We have a national epidemic of opioid overdoses. Overdoses from opioids far surpass the number of deaths from homicides and car accidents," said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle who added the child's death troubles her.

Police believe Banks somehow came in contact with the drugs during a one-hour period on June 23rd - between the time he left a pool in the Overtown neighborhood and got home.

"What this does is drive home the realization about a 10-year-old boy with his family who came just inches of three grains of this drug. All it takes is just three grains like sugar that size to have an overdose," said Fernandez Rundle. "Fentanyl is 50 to 80 times stronger than heroin so it's no wonder we have an epidemic of overdoses."

The medical examiner's office also found controlled substances in Bank's body that included Midazolam, Morphine, Codeine and Ephedrine.

"Fentanyl comes in from China. It is imported here and there it's mixed with cheap stuff to make it go longer and so we find a mixture of different drugs," said Fernandez Rundle.

Banks began vomiting at home, lost consciousness and later died at a hospital.

Miami Police said they have been aggressive in getting fentanyl off the streets, arresting at least 12 dealers and at least 57 buyers in the last six months.

CBS4 has chronicled the opioid crisis in South Florida, riding with first responders in Miami.  City of Miami Fire Rescue Captain Anthony Milan says the crisis fluctuates.

"Every month there's a rise and then it slows down whether police are being more active or they happen to stop some of the drugs from coming in," said Capt. Milan.

Capt. Milan says when new shipments of the drugs come in, the use and overdoses rises -- something they have to be ready to respond to.

"They get purchased again and you see something else happen on the street.  Maybe there's more events going on, more partying and then you see more of the drug," said Capt. Milan.

To combat this growing epidemic, firefighters and paramedics administer Narcan, an opiate antidote –  something Walgreens announced it will start stocking without requiring a prescription in 45 states.  It's something city of Miami fire rescue says may help save lives.

"The key is going to be education, obviously prevention.  The key is trying to stop the patient from using it but if they do overdose or they're in need of it, they can help a family member so that would be good," said Capt. Milan.

Fernandez Rundle wants all police officers to carry Narcan with them.  "This is an inexpensive way to save a life," said Fernandez Rundle. "It can save a life and an officer's life."

Miami Police still need help solving Banks' case. At last check, police were asking anyone who saw anything between the hours of 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the area of Gibson Park East to Northwest 1st Court, from 12th Street to 13th Street to come forward.

"The good news is that police have not closed the case and it is really important for you in the media to continue to cover this. All it takes is eyes and ears out there with a little bit of information for this case," said Fernandez Rundle.

Alton Banks's mother said her son had dreamed of becoming an engineer, but on Wednesday, neither she nor his aunt who lives here wanted to say anything.

Anyone with information in the case can call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).


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