Content warning: drug abuse, child death.
Heather Revell, 35, was arrested last Sunday after a baby girl in her care overdosed on fentanyl, an opioid that is often used as a recreational drug. The Holiday, Florida, woman faces felony charges of child neglect, possession of heroin, possession of a controlled substance and a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
Revell, who lives in the 1200 block of Ermine Drive, had injected herself with heroin laced with fentanyl on Saturday evening. She told officers that she believed the girl ingested leftover drugs. Fentanyl, which is often mixed by drug users with heroin or cocaine, can result in vomiting, constipation, sedation, confusion and hallucinations as well as decreased breathing, low blood pressure, coma or death.
The woman found the baby “lethargic and unresponsive” at 9:30 a.m. the next day. When the Pasco County Fire Rescue responded to an emergency call, paramedics administered Narcan to the baby in order to reverse the effects of a potential overdose. Fortunately, the child responded to the drug and was transported to a local hospital. She is expected to make a full recovery.
The Sheriff’s Office said it uncovered used syringes and crushed Xanax in the woman’s home as well as fentanyl in her purse. She was held at the Pasco County jail on Monday in lieu of a $12,150 bail. There is no word on the location of the baby’s parents.
Woman charged with child neglect after 1-year-old overdosed on fentanyl. Narcan revived the baby. Doctor says it would take very little for a baby to overdose. https://t.co/yutd0oNuGN pic.twitter.com/gPUWSgRnzR— Liz Crawford WTSP (@LizCrawfordWTSP) August 12, 2019
Earlier this year, a Michigan couple was charged with murder after their 18-month-old daughter died of a fentanyl overdose. It is believed that the child drank the opioid while her parents were manufacturing drugs out of their home in Clinton Township, Michigan. The Macomb County Medical Examiner's Office stated at the time that the girl had five to fifteen times the amount of fentanyl in her system than authorities had seen in the previous 30 overdose deaths in the county.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the US, the number of drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl began to escalate in 2013, increasing to 18,335 deaths in 2016. From 2013 through 2016, the number of deaths approximately doubled each year. Additionally, in 2016, synthetic opioids, primarily illegal fentanyl, surpassed prescription opioids as the most common drugs involved in overdose deaths. In 2016, synthetic opioids were involved in nearly 50% of opioid-related deaths, up from 14% in 2010.