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Mother arrested after her child died from fentanyl overdose, sheriff's office says

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Posted at 11:58 AM, Feb 01, 2024

TOWN OF FREEDOM (NBC 26) — The Outagamie County Sheriff's Office said Thursday a mother has been arrested after her 2-year-old child died from a fentanyl overdose.

Deputies are referring a neglecting a child — consequence is death charge for a 28-year-old town of Freedom woman. They expect her initial court appearance to happen on Friday.

Authorities said in a news release they got the call of a 2-year-old child not breathing on Saturday, Jan. 6. The child later died at a hospital.

Deputies said the fentanyl levels in the child's system were sufficient to cause a grown adult to die.

The 2-year-old lived with her mother, the release said.

Authorities said further charges could result. They are not releasing further details due to the ongoing investigation and pending criminal charges.

"The Outagamie County Sheriff’s Office is committed to fighting the opioid crisis threatening our community," deputies said in the release. "We are working with our local partners to combat this threat from multiple angles."

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for pain relief and anesthetic use. The DEA says fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin as an analgesic.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services data shows the opioid death rate in the state was 24.6 per 100,000 in 2021. The opioid death rate in Outagamie County in 2021 was 14.1 per 100,000, data shows.

If you or a loved one have a mental or substance use disorder, call the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). You can also call or text the suicide and crisis lifeline at 988.