The death of 10-year-old Alton Banks in Miami raised concerns about the possible presence of fentanyl in public places. It’s not known how Banks came in contact with the drug, but he died at home after returning from the neighborhood pool.
Police officers in Ohio have also been treated after coming in contact with the drug that is mixed with heroin. The drug is so prevalent that a woman revived a companion with naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug, in a Fairview Park McDonald's in April.
But, should parents be concerned about fentanyl powder in public? News 5 checked with two narcotics agencies who said exposure to the general public is extremely rare.
But, now drug dealers are also mixing fentanyl with cocaine, making fentanyl even more accessible. "Parents should be concerned if their youngsters are becoming drug users, or if their kids are hanging around those who abuse drugs even if their kids don't," said Chris Begley of the Lake County Narcotics Agency.
Police have alerted the public that addicts shoot up in public bathrooms, like those in gas stations. Authorities say you should talk to your kids about the possible presence of needles in bathrooms.
Fentanyl is so dangerous, the Lake County Narcotics Agency just stopped field testing powdery drugs. Now, they collect it not only by wearing gloves but also by wearing a mask, goggles and arm covers.
The powder, often found in plastic baggies by police, is collected and sent to the crime lab for testing.
"The general public doesn't have to be concerned when they're just going to be out shopping, walking down the street with their children and encounter a fatal overdose of fentanyl. There really has to be an overt act involved," Begley said.
The Lorain County Drug Task Force has also halted field testing of suspected fentanyl, instead they send it directly to the crime lab for testing.
Published by WEWS News Channel 5 Cleveland