September 16, 2023
Mayor Eric Adams: Good evening. I am Mayor Eric Adams and I am here in the Bronx at Montefiore Hospital joined by Police Commissioner Caban First Deputy Commissioner Kinsella, Dr. Vasan, the commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Chief [Kenny] from the Detective division. We're here to give you a briefing on a terrible incident that took place earlier today with four children who appeared to have come in contact with an opioid that led to hospitalization for three of the children and one child is DOA, died from this interaction.
Commissioner Caban will give an overall update, and Chief [Kenny] will give the preliminary information that we have available at this time, and Dr. Vasan will give the overview on these types of substances and what was [the role] in inspections that took place with Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Commissioner.
Police Commissioner Edward Caban: Thank you, Mr, Mayor. I just want to say our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time. Tonight is every parent's worst nightmare. Our children are a gift from God in this world. They're innocent. We must always protect them. As a father I can tell you, my kids are my heart, and my heart is heavy this evening.
As we stand here in this hospital, one baby has passed away, one fights for their life and yet another is still under medical care. I don’t know exactly what happened to those babies. My chief of Detectives, Joe Kenny, is leading the investigation will get us those answers, and he will share what he knows at this moment. But for now, there is one thing I do know, and that is we should not be here. These children do not deserve this, so please pray for them and their families. I will now turn it over to our chief of Detectives, Joe Kenny.
Chief Joseph Kenny, Detectives, Police Department: Thank you, Commissioner. At 2:43 this afternoon, we received a 911 call for three unconscious children at 2707 Morris Avenue here in the Bronx. This location is a daycare center named the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center. Here we found three children: two males two years old, one female eight months old.
All three children were unresponsive and demonstrating symptoms of opioid exposure. Narcan was administered to all three of these children in an attempt to save their lives. Two children survived; unfortunately, one male, two years old, passed away at Montefiore Hospital at 3:29 p.m.
Additionally, we learned that another child, a male two years old, was removed from this same day care center earlier in the day at 12:15 p.m. Once home, the child's mother noticed that the kid was acting lethargic and unresponsive. He was brought to BronxCare Hospital where he was administered Narcan and his life was saved.
The NYPD executed a search warrant at this daycare center where we discovered a kilo press. This is an item that is commonly used by drug dealers when packaging large quantities of drugs. This is an active criminal investigation. The children involved are three males two years old, one female eight months old. One child was brought to BronxCare, three children were brought to Montefiore Hospital.
 Morris Avenue is a licensed daycare center by the State of New York. It was last inspected September 9th of this year where no violations were observed. This investigation is ongoing.
Commissioner Ashwin Vasan, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: Hello, I'm Dr. Vasan from the Department of Health. As a doctor, as the city's doctor, as a father of three small kids, as a New Yorker, my heart's breaking tonight for this family that's lost their precious one-year-old son.
I'm here today to talk a little bit about what we know about the site at which this event happened. This was a home‑based childcare site under the official authority of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene conducts inspections on behalf of OCFS and inspected — as Chief [Kenny] just described — inspected this site as recently as September 9th and found no violations. This is a new site that was opened in January of just this year, and had its routine inspections: two, in the beginning in order to get its license, and one surprise visit — that was the September 9th site — and no violations were found.
I want to talk a little bit secondly about fentanyl and opioids in general. We've heard a lot about fentanyl. We've prioritized the overdose crisis in this administration's mental health plan because we know it affects everyone. And tonight, that's been brought home to bear in this challenge we face. A small child — not someone we would think would be at risk of interacting with opioids — has come into contact with a powerful substance which can through either inhalation, ingestion or in touching of the skin, intoxicate the recipient.
We don't know what happened in this case, and as the chief said, there is an active investigation. But what it tells us is that the overdose crisis affects all of us, which is why it's an all hands on deck public health moment. So, once again, our hearts go out to the family for their loss.
Mayor Adams: Thank you. And as Chief Kenny stated, this is an active investigation, and we are going to find out the cause of this incident. And to the families, this is clearly an impact on us all. To lose a child, and just listen to the ages of these children, and speaking with the mom and dad a few moments ago, and seeing the pain that they are experiencing is something that all of us as New Yorkers are experiencing, and all of us who are parents.
This crisis is real, and it is a real wake‑up call for individuals who have opioids or fentanyl in their homes. The mere contact is deadly for an adult and it's extremely deadly for a child. We are really sending out a message to all New Yorkers, but specifically those who have these substances inside their homes: this can have an impact on your family and an impact on your children.
Our hearts break for these families that are involved. We will lift them up in prayer, and we will get to the bottom of this. And I want to thank the quick response by the New York City Police Department and all the agencies that are involved. Thank you.