(Portland, OR) -- Police in Portland are raising the alarm after three small children overdosed on fentanyl this month. "We’ve had three incidents recently where young children ages one, one and three overdosed on fentanyl," Capt. Jake Jensen told reporters Thursday, "This is tragic and unacceptable." All three incidents occurred within a 10-day span, but investigators believe they are unrelated.
Jensen would not comment on the condition of the victims, citing the ongoing investigations. But he noted, "Because children’s bodies are smaller than adults, even the tiniest amount of residue can kill." He also would not say how the toddlers encountered the drugs, saying, "The two most common forms of fentanyl we see are pills and powder. Often, these pills and powder are brightly colored, which means they can easily be mistaken for candy and accidentally eaten by a young child."
Jensen says drug overdoses in such small children are rare and difficult for everyone, "At one year old, two years old, three years old, right? It’s just - yeah. It stays with you."
PPB's Narcotics and Organized Crime (NOC) unit has launched investigations into 137 suspected overdose deaths so far this year. Jensen says almost all are fentanyl related. In all of 2022, there were 158 - and none involved children under the age of five.
Portland Police are pleading with users to lock up their drugs, "If you’re a fentanyl user, we urge you to keep your drugs away from children," says Jensen, "Don’t bring them into the house, don’t bring them into the car, and this includes anything that might have fentanyl residue on it, such as straws, foil, plastic baggies and other means of using or storing fentanyl."