Child overdoses on drugs becoming distressingly frequent, experts warn

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The father of a 1-year-old boy who died after a cocaine overdose was arrested and charged with aggravated manslaughter.

According to police, a woman who was with the father, Karl Brunswick, and his 1-year-old Aiden Brunswick said they all fell asleep inside a car. This happened in the parking lot of the Sampson Apartments in Hyde Park.

When she and Karl Brunswick woke up, they realized the 1-year-old was unresponsive.

The 1-year-old was taken to the hospital, where he died.

Aiden is not the first child in recent months to be rushed to a hospital with illegal drugs in their system.

Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office bodycam video showed an officer saving the life of an unresponsive 7-month-old who suffered a fentanyl overdose on June 5.

When detectives searched the apartment, they said they found drugs and what they believed to be illegal drugs in the child’s reach.

“You should know better than to leave drugs accessible to a child,” News4JAX Crime and Safety Analyst Tom Hackney said.

Hackney said reports of children overdosing on drugs are becoming too frequent. He also said adults are not using common sense when they leave illegal drugs and even legal medications in reach of a child.

“I shouldn’t have to say don’t do cocaine and drive with your kids in the car. I shouldn’t have to say if you’re going to do cocaine, don’t leave it accessible to a 1-year-old. But we do. It’s in black and white on the paper. This happens,” Hackney said. “It becomes repetitive, and you think; why would anyone, as a crime and safety analyst for News4JAX, why should that be something you have to say? But the sad reality is that you do.”

In Florida, nearly 800 children went to the hospital after ingesting marijuana edibles, according to a recent Drug Enforcement Administration threat assessment.

Florida Poison Control spokesperson Michael McCormick said cases of child overdoses are increasing.

“If you look in the state of Florida this year, we’ve had more than one call a day for children six and under,” McCormick said. “It is a lot and we’re looking at exposure if they hold; total exposure involving everyone hitting around 2,000 this year.”

While Hackney does not condone the use of illegal drugs, he said adults who choose to use them must be better at preventing children from accessing the drugs.

“There’s nothing out there that’s going to prevent or someone group-wise is going to step in and say we’re going to put some safety notices on your cocaine package to not leave it for kids. You just have to use your head,” Hackney said.

If you or someone you know is abusing drug and wants help, call the National Drug Help Hotline at 844-289-0879.

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