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(Photo by Jonathan Perez/Unsplash)

The August death of McKees Rocks toddler Au’driana Cohen became national news: A curly-haired baby killed by a drug commonly used as elephant tranquilizer. Another casualty of the nation’s opioid epidemic.

What the reports neglect to mention is that Au’driana is one of at least 16 children in Southwestern Pennsylvania who since 2009 were poisoned by drugs in the possession of the adults who surround them. Six of those cases involved opiates. Au’driana and two others died from either being exposed to or taking the drugs.

State and local officials are required to review cases in which children have died or nearly died, and when abuse is suspected, per state law. This count captures only those cases that triggered a review, though police have not said that abuse is suspected in Au’driana’s death.



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