MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Investigators do not have any leads or suspects in the death of a 10-year-old Miami boy from an apparent fentanyl overdose, making him the youngest known victim of the opioid crisis in the city, Miami’s police chief said Thursday.
“When we lose a child of this age, it really shocks all of our consciousnesses,” said Chief Rodolfo Llanes. “If anybody saw Alton that day, who he was with or where he was at, then we can piece that timeline together. We need to identify on June 23rd, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., in the area of Gibson Park east to Northwest 1st Court, from 12th Street to 13th Street.”
Llanes told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “We don’t know how he came in contact with this drug. We don’t have a working theory on how that happened. That is the reason we are here today, to get some help from the public. This is a small area and we are hoping that someone will come forward.”
Banks began vomiting at home, lost consciousness and later died at a hospital.
Miami Fire-Rescue officials said it was unlikely he physically touched the drug but there are several ways to come into contact.
“Fentanyl can be entered into the body in three different ways,” said Deputy Fire Chief Craig Radelman. “Either ingestion, injection or inhalation.”
He had some advice for concerned parents.
“If you have touched anything or when your kids are home from school, make sure they wash their hands using soap and water,” said Chief Radelman. “One thing we recommend is not using alcohol because that opens the pores and increases the chances of absorption.”
The opioid crisis has spread among South Florida. City of Miami Commissioner Frances Suarez proposed a three-prong plan to curb the epidemic.
“The first is that we want to make sure our first responders have all the resources they need, Narcan, anything else that they can ask of us to combat this problem,” he said. “The second one is we want to look at and explore suing, potentially, the major distributors and manufacturers of these kinds of drugs, including fentanyl and including opium. And the third, of course, is we just got an app, a grant from the state of Florida to develop an app, which is an anonymous crime-tipping app that we’re gonna implement in the next few months.”
Miami Police said they have been aggressive in getting fentanyl off the streets, arresting 12 dealers and 57 buyers in the last six months.
Anyone who may have seen the fifth-grader or encountered him during that time frame should contact authorities or call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).