Braun calls for more legislative action after three infants exposed to fentanyl

Centralia Republican says Democrats refused to vote on legislation to punish those who allow children access to narcotics


Senate Minority Leader John Braun, R-Centralia, has called on the Legislature to take additional action to curb children’s access to fentanyl and other deadly narcotics.

The call comes after three infants in Everett overdosed within four days last week, including the fatal overdose of a 13-month-old.

Officials do not believe the incidents are related.

“It’s completely indefensible when an infant or child gets sick or dies because someone in the household is using deadly drugs such as fentanyl,” Braun said in a statement Friday. “These children are innocent, and whoever’s negligence is exposing them to lethal street drugs needs to be charged with a felony for child endangerment.”

According to Everett Police and Fire, emergency crews responded to three overdoses between April 20 and 24.

The first incident occurred just after 7:45 a.m. on Saturday, April 20, when firefighters were called to a residence where an 11-month-old child was found unresponsive by their parents. The child was given overdose-reversing medication Narcan before the fire departments arrived. The child was taken to a hospital for additional treatment. The child has since been released.

The second incident occurred Wednesday when a caller reported a 6-month-old baby who was experiencing difficulty breathing. Firefighters immediately administered care, including Narcan. As of Thursday, the baby was in stable condition in a hospital.

Hours later, a caller reported an unresponsive 13-month-old baby at an apartment complex in Everett. First responders immediately began life-saving efforts, and the child was taken to a hospital, where they later died. The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the official cause and manner of death.

The Everett Police Department is investigating all three cases.

In October, the mayor of Everett convened a task force to examine an uptick in drug usage in the city, specifically fentanyl, meth and other illegal substances. The task force is expected to develop the next steps or recommendations for the city to consider.

According to Braun, legislation introduced last session would have increased penalties for exposing children to fentanyl and other deadly substances.

“Sen. Lynda Wilson fought for a bill last session that would include fentanyl and other synthetic opioids in the statute on endangerment with a controlled substance. It had bipartisan support and passed unanimously in the Senate,” Braun said. “The chair of the House’s Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee wouldn’t even grant it a hearing, despite repeated calls to do so. He claimed that not one of the 58 Democrats in the House would vote for it.”

Braun called on the Legislature to take additional action against fentanyl and other illegal narcotics in future legislative sessions, adding he hopes “House Democrats take notice of these latest infant overdoses.”

During the 2024 session, lawmakers passed legislation proposed by Wilson to establish an opioid awareness campaign managed by the Department of Health known as “One Pill Kills.” The Legislature also passed legislation proposed by Braun that will earmark at least 20% of state opioid manufacturer settlement funds for Native American tribal programs.

In a joint media release Thursday, the Everett police and fire departments said the city is “deeply concerned” about an increase in opioid overdoses among children. Even small amounts of the substances, they said, can prove deadly due to a lack of tolerance.

Between September 2022 and September 2023, Washington reported the highest year-over-year increase in overdoses. During that time, overdose fatalities increased from 2,483 to 3,511.

“Those who are trapped in addiction need help — addiction itself is not a crime — but their disease does not excuse them for injuries or deaths that occur as a byproduct of their addiction,” Braun said. “If being charged with a felony and doing time for exposing minors to fentanyl is what is needed to protect these babies in the future, then we should pass legislation to hold people accountable.”

According to the Everett Fire Department, overdoses can occur both intentionally and accidentally, and time can be crucial when one occurs. If you suspect someone has overdosed, the Everett Fire Department recommends a four-step process which includes:

• Checking for signs of overdose

• Calling 911

• Administering Naloxone and beginning rescue breathing

• Staying with the individual

Naloxone, also known as Narcan, can reverse the effects of opioids. It is available for purchase without a prescription at pharmacies. Four organizations in Lewis County also distribute Naloxone for free.

To find a location that administers Naloxone, visit Those struggling with addiction can also call the 24-hour Washington Recovery Helpline at 1-866-789-1511.