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A Kentucky boy, 8, died of fentanyl intoxication, not a strawberry allergy

The Hopkins County Health Department says that it is safe to eat properly frozen strawberries, which were first suspected in the child's death.
/ Source: TODAY

An 8-year-old boy in Kentucky who died of what was thought to be an allergic reaction to strawberries actually died from fentanyl, according to multiple outlets.

His official cause of death has been released by the Hopkins County Coroner, and the child, Trey Major Harris, died of fentanyl intoxication, according to WFIE. reached out to the coroner’s office for comment but has yet to receive a response.

At the time of his death, Trey’s family told the Madisonville Police Department that he developed a rash after eating strawberries from a school fundraiser, according to past reporting.

When the rash appeared, Trey took some Benadryl and a bath to ease his symptoms. When he did not improve, his family took him to the emergency room, but they returned home. At home, Trey dressed in pajamas to go to bed. When the family went to wake him for school on March 15, he was unresponsive and not breathing. Soon after, Trey was declared dead, the Madisonville police press release said.

On April 9, the Hopkins County Health Department shared an update on the fundraiser strawberries, which had been tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and a state lab after Trey’s death, according to its website. The results revealed “negative” findings and the health department said that anyone who properly froze the strawberries can safely eat them.

Trey’s obituary shared that he was well liked by his second-grade classmates, and he enjoyed many sports, including baseball, basketball, skateboarding and football. The boy “loved helping others” and hoped to become a police officer as an adult, the obituary said.

“He was a fun-loving child who adored playing pranks on his mom, especially, and laughing,” the obituary said, noting he “will be forever missed by his loving mother, Whitney Person.”

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is a major driver of overdoses in the United States. It's 50 times stronger than heroin. While pharmaceutical fentanyl exists, most overdoses and deaths are due to illegal fentanyl. It can be deadly even in small doses.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, signs of fentanyl intoxication include slow or no breathing, drowsiness, unresponsiveness and small pupils.