Authorities said this week that a California couple was arrested after their 18-month-old son died after taking too much fentanyl.
According to a news release from the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, the drama started on December 16 when deputies were called to the 5900 block of Newbrook Circle in the Northern California city of Riverbank because a baby wasn’t breathing.
Officials say that paramedics took the boy to a hospital, where he later died.
During a search of the house, police said they found drugs, drug paraphernalia, and fentanyl.
Maryanne Cazares, the child’s mother, is 25 years old. Tyler Jones, the child’s father, is 31 years old. Both told authorities that they had fallen asleep while the boy played on the floor.
Jones also admitted that before police came to the house, he had hidden drugs, drug paraphernalia, and fentanyl that the child could get to.
Officials said that when another agency checked on Cazares’ 5-year-old daughter, who was out of state at the time, drug paraphernalia was found in her belongings. The girl was taken in by other members of her father’s family.
The boy died from a fentanyl overdose, the sheriff’s office said. An autopsy showed that he had a lethal amount of fentanyl in his body.
Cazares and Jones were taken into custody on Thursday and charged with murder. Authorities say that they are also being charged with child abuse because the 5-year-old was found with drug paraphernalia.
The case showed that there was a problem with the drug in the county where it happened, which was in Northern California. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of fentanyl cases has gone up in Stanislaus County, which is east of the San Francisco Bay Area. This is in line with what has been happening across the country.
Patrick Hogan, who is a deputy district attorney in Stanislaus County, told an NBC station in Sacramento, KCRA, about the problem in February of last year.
He said, “It’s a hard thing to talk about.” “We call it an overdose crisis and a poisoning crisis in our county. People are looking for fentanyl and taking too much of it. Some people are taking drugs without knowing what they are. They are being killed with poison.
“I talked to people in law enforcement at every agency in my county, and they all said it was a crisis like they’d never seen before.”
He said he has talked to police officers who have been on the job for 20 to 30 years and who said they had never seen so many deaths related to the drug.
“Three to four people die of an overdose every week in our county,” he said. “Fentanyl is getting into every part of our society,” someone said.