Miami Police commit to work harder to combat opioid epidemic after boy’s death

MIAMI (WSVN) - Miami Police are working harder to combat the opioid epidemic after the recent death of a 10-year-old boy.

The heart-breaking case of little Alton Banks caught the attention of the nation after he came in contact with the chemical fetanyl and subsequently died.

“The detectives and all of us that work here at the Miami Police Department, when we lose a child of this age, it really shocks all of our consciences,” said Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes.

Police are still unsure how Alton came into contact with the chemical.

“If someone was in the area, on June 23, between 5 and 6 p.m., and saw Alton Banks and who he came in contact with, we need that information,” said Llanes.

Police said Alton’s death is symptomatic of the much larger opioid epidemic hitting South Florida.

However, in the last year, officials said, they have seen progress. First responders are seeing less overdoses, meaning they don’t need to use as much Narcan as before. Narcan is a life-saving drug administered to a person who has overdosed.

“The use of Narcan, for us, has gone down about 65 percent, so we’re using about one-third every month versus what we were using,” said Craig Radelman, the Miami Fire Rescue Chief of Operations.

However, Llanes said that it is not enough and more needs to be done. “Unless we start treating addiction and mental health in a substantive way, we’re not gonna curb this epidemic, or any other that comes after it,” he said.

The hope is to save the lives of those using the dangerous drugs and the innocent bystanders, like Alton. “Don’t use, and then you won’t be exposing your family,” Llanes said.

So far, there have been 32 fetanyl-related deaths in Miami.

If you have any information on Alton’s death, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.

Copyright 2018 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.