June 29, 2023 09:40
The Portland Police Bureau is alerting the community to a concerning trend of fentanyl overdoses involving very young children.
Since June 15, 2023, the Narcotics and Organized Crime (NOC) unit has investigated three overdoses where children were exposed to fentanyl that was left unsecured in their homes. The children were ages 1 to 3 years old. While overdoses involving young children is not unheard of, it’s unprecedented in recent memory that this many happened in a short period of time.
The first call was Thursday, June 15, 2023 at about 8:30a.m. in the Pleasant Valley Neighborhood of Southeast Portland where the child involved was 1 year old. The second was on Monday, June 19, 2023 around 3:00p.m. in the Argay Terrace Neighborhood of Northeast Portland where the child involved was 1 year old. The third incident was Sunday, June 25 in the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood of Southeast Portland where the child was 3 years old. Because these cases are all active investigations, NOC is not releasing specifically the locations or conditions of the affected children. The three cases are unrelated.
The Portland Police Bureau is asking that users immediately take extra steps to prevent children from accessing fentanyl or other controlled substances. Even a small amount of fentanyl residue can be lethal to children, as the narcotic can be more potent to a toddler’s smaller body and lack of opioid tolerance. Pills can resemble candy to children, especially when they’re brightly colored. We recommend following health department guidelines for prevention, harm reduction, and safe storage:
To learn more about the fentanyl crisis in Portland, see these recent short videos released by PPB:
And here is a PPB podcast, The Talking Beat, on the topic of fentanyl in Portland:
NOC has launched 137 suspected overdose death investigations this year to date in Portland.
PPB file photo of blue fentanyl pills (counterfeit “M30”) in a blue and yellow cup next to a clear plastic baggie with additional pills
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