Methuen police arrest man, seize almost $1.2 million of fentanyl

The mother of a 10-month-old Methuen girl who stopped breathing twice and was rushed to the hospital Saturday after being exposed to the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl has been in a methadone program for more than a year and hasn't tested positive for drugs in that time, a family spokesman said. The baby ingested fentanyl, according to the hospital.

The young infant had been taken Lawrence General Hospital, where at some point her breathing had come to a stop twice and then was revived. She was later airlifted to Tufts Medical Center in Boston, where she's in stable condition. It is often used to treat severe pain or help manage pain after surgery, according to drugabuse.com.

Fentanyl has caused hundreds of deaths and overdoses throughout the state of MA and elsewhere across the United States.

"This is an extremely unfortunate situation in which a risky drug has ended up in the wrong hands and placed a baby's life in danger", Joseph E. Solomon, chief of the Methuen Police, said.

Quinn said the family remains "baffled and bewildered" by the incident, adding that "they have no idea where the baby was able to get and ingest fentanyl".

Statistics from the U.S Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Agency for the state of MA show that among the 693 people whose deaths were opioid-related in 2016, 510 of them -74 percent- had a positive screen result for fentanyl.

According to figures from 2015, in MA alone there were a reported 754 cases of overdoses linked directly to Fentanyl, which serve as more than half of all the deaths in the state that are linked with any type of opioid overdose.

On Monday, a relative said the child is doing "fine". Solomon said that the police goal is to find out how the substance ended up in the child's system.

When police arrived, officers located a man matching the 911 caller's description in the backseat of a taxi with a duffel bag next to him, later identified as Rojas-Rosario.

"The opioid epidemic knows no boundaries", Mayor Stephen Zanni said in a press statement.

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