baby overdoses

Maine Parents Face Charges After Infant Overdoses on Fentanyl: Police

The nine-month-old child from Auburn is listed in stable condition, police say

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Two Maine parents are facing a number of charges after police in Auburn say their infant overdosed on fentanyl Friday night.

Police were called to an apartment on Washington Street just before 9 p.m. for a report of an unresponsive nine-month-old child.

When Auburn Fire and Rescue arrived, police said the child was immediately taken to an area hospital where Narcan was used to revive the child.

"The good news was that Narcan saved this child and we've got a lot of Narcan out there," said Gordon Smith, Director of Opioid Response for the State of Maine.

The child was listed in stable condition, police said on their department's Facebook page.

In order to investigate how the child may have ingested drugs, police obtained a search warrant for the apartment. During the search, police said a powder that later tested positive for fentanyl and several items of drug paraphernalia were found.

The infant's parents, Matthew Mcleod, 30, and Valene St. Onge, 29, were both arrested at the hospital and charged with furnishing drugs. St. Onge was also charged with endangering the welfare of a minor, police said.

Bail was set at $1,000 each on Saturday. It's unclear when Mcleod or St. Onge will appear in court to face charges or if they have attorneys that can answer to the charges.

Smith told NECN and NBC10 Boston that the incident with the infant is certainly not isolated and similar ones have not had good outcomes.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, which Smith suspects will contribute to isolation and substance use, Maine's fatal overdoses had gone up 7% from 2018 to 2019.

"We're seeing this in New England, we're seeing it in Maine and we're seeing it across the country," Smith said.

He added that the cause of the infant's overdose is believed to be fentanyl and similar drugs, some of which are laced in substances like meth and cocaine. A solution to that problem according to Smith could, among other strategies, include giving test strips to people using substances that could identify what's in them.

"If they're going to continue to use drugs, an important harm reduction strategy would be to make sure they know what they're taking," Smith said.

In the meantime, the infant has been "removed from the custody of the parents," police said.

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