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A baby has died and three other children, including an 8-month-old, were hospitalized after an apparent opioid exposure at a New York City day care, police said.
At a press conference with New York City Mayor Eric Adams, New York Police Department Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said that officers received a 911 call just after 2:40 p.m. Sept. 15 for “unconscious children” at the Bronx day care center.
Officers found two boys, at least one being 2 years old, and an 8-month-old girl unconscious and “experiencing symptoms of opioid exposure,” Kenny said, adding that Narcan was administered to all three.
After being taken to Montefiore Medical Center, Kenny said one of the boys was pronounced dead upon arrival, while the 2-year-old boy and girl remain in the hospital.
Earlier that day at around 12:15 p.m., another 2-year-old boy was removed from the same day care, according to Kenny. The Chief of Detectives said the boy’s mom noticed that he was acting “lethargic and unresponsive.”
Kenny said the boy was hospitalized at BronxCare Health System, where he was given Narcan and “his life was saved.”
NYPD executed a search warrant at the day care and found a “kilo press,” which Kenny said is “commonly used by drug dealers when packaging large quantities of drugs.”
According to Kenny and New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Ashwin Vasan, the home-based day care center was licensed by the state and last underwent a surprise inspection Sept. 9. Vasan said there were no violations found at the time.
The commissioner said that the day care center opened in January and was inspected twice amid opening to obtain its license. At neither point in time did authorities find violations, he added.
The investigation is ongoing, Adams said.
“We’ve heard a lot about fentanyl,” Vesan said. “We’ve prioritized the overdose crisis in this administration’s mental health plan because we know it affects everyone. And tonight, that’s been brought home to bear. A small child, not someone we would think to be at risk of interacting with opioids, has come into contact with a powerful substance, which can, through inhalation, ingestion or in touching of the skin, intoxicate the recipient.”
Adams called the tragedy a “real wake up call or individuals who have opioids or fentanyl in their homes.”
“The mere contact is deadly for an adult, and is extremely deadly for a child,” he added.
NBC News reported that Carlisto Acevedo Brito, 41, and Grei Mendez, 36, were arrested the night of Saturday, Sept. 16 on multiple counts, including murder, manslaughter, assault, criminal possession of a controlled substance and narcotic drug and endangering the welfare of a child of 1-year-old Nicholas Dominici, who died at the day care.
Brito and Mendez’s relationship to the daycare was not immediately known and it was not immediately clear if they have lawyers representing them, NBC News reported.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, early signs of fentanyl exposure in young children can be hard to detect, although drowsiness is reported.
Other symptoms of fentanyl exposure in children include:
If a person suspects a child has been exposed to fentanyl, the FDA says to call 911 and immediately seek emergency medical assistance. If the person has naloxone, the FDA advises administering it while waiting for help.
This article was originally published on TODAY.com