🔺 NJ mom admits to role in young son’s drug overdose death

🔺 The toddler and his sibling had heroin and fentanyl left within reach, police found

🔺 Pediatric deaths from fentanyl have surged similar to adult ODs, research shows

ASBURY PARK — A 26-year-old mother has pleaded guilty to a charge stemming from her toddler son’s drug overdose death.

Quanique Smith, of Asbury Park, was first arrested in January after the 2-year-old boy’s early morning death.

In March, Smith was indicted on an upgraded charge of aggravated manslaughter.

By pleading guilty to a second-degree count of aggravated manslaughter, Smith was expected to face a prison term of eight years, when sentenced on Sept. 7.

She would have to serve 85% of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

🔺 Heroin, fentanyl left in reach of two young children before NJ boy’s OD death

On Jan. 5, Asbury Park police responded to an apartment on the 100 block of Langford Street on a report of an unresponsive child.

The young boy was rushed to a local hospital and was pronounced dead shortly before 2 a.m.

Investigators found that heroin and fentanyl belonging to the mother had been left in the family’s home, within reach of the 2-year-old and his 5-year-old sibling.

NJ child drug overdose death Lacey
Natalie Sabie (Ocean County Prosecutor's Office)

🔺 Similar tragedy leads to same charge against Lacey mom

In April, an Ocean County grand jury added an aggravated manslaughter charge against a 35-year-old mother whose toddler son died of drug exposure last fall.

Natalie Sabie, of Lacey, was also indicted on possession of fentanyl and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, stemming from the September 2022 death of her 2-year-old boy.

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🔺 Wall toddler pulls through after drug OD, parents criminally charged

Also last fall, a Wall Township couple was arrested after their toddler daughter overdosed on suspected opioids in the family home.

That child survived. Her parents, Sharek White and Alexis Mistretta were each charged with second-degree endangering the welfare of a child.

Child fentanyl OD data (JAMA Pediatrics, via U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
(JAMA Pediatrics)

🔺 Pediatric deaths from fentanyl have surged, similar to adult ODs, research shows

Pediatric deaths from fentanyl began to surge nationwide in 2013, according to research published this month by the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics.

“Mirroring trends seen among adults,” pediatric deaths involving fentanyl have seen a nearly six-fold increase among children younger than 5 years.

Fentanyl was involved in the U.S. drug deaths of 342 children 4 years and younger, over a more than 20-year span ending in 2021, according to the same research.

Child fentanyl OD data (JAMA Pediatrics, via U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
(JAMA Pediatrics)

Data from 1999 to 2021 showed that across age groups, annual deaths peaked in 2020 and 2021, suggesting that the COVID-19 pandemic made the public health crisis even worse.

For all ages, nearly 44% of deaths happened at home and at least 87.5% were unintentional, according to the same research.

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