Authorities report ‘alarming’ increase in child fentanyl exposures

The Minnesota Poison Control Agency is reporting an uptick in the number of children exposed to and hospitalized for opioids – including fentanyl – in the state.

The Poison Control Agency said they recognize most of these incidents are accidents but emphasize that naloxone and rescue breathing can be “lifesaving, lifechanging, and intentional.”

According to the agency, most exposures occur in the home where children come in contact with fentanyl.

“Since 2022, the Minnesota Poison Control System has been contacted about 66 children under the age of 3, including those just learning to cruise or that put their hands in their mouths, who have presented to Minnesota hospitals due to exposure to opioids. All required medical care, and a wide range of symptoms and severity of illness were reported to us. But there are likely many more that were not reported to the Poison Control System.”

Dr. Travis Olives, Associate Medical Director for the Minnesota Poison Control System

Symptoms of opioid exposure are sleepiness or decreased alertness, unresponsive or slow breathing, vomiting, blue-shaded skin, or small pupils.