WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A woman has been arrested after her 1-year-old was found dead at a Winston-Salem hotel, according to police.
On April 30, 2020, police responded to a report of a 1-year-old infant, named True Lash, found not breathing at the Ramada Inn at 531 Akron Drive.
Police helped EMS as they tried to save the baby, but the child died at the scene.
Investigators found needles, syringes and other drug paraphernalia at the scene.
The child’s parents, Amber Dawn Martin and Eric Donnell Lash, had been leasing the room temporarily. The victim’s 6-year-old brother was also at the scene unharmed.
On March 3, 2021, detectives received the results of True Lash’s toxicology tests. The tests found that the child died of fentanyl toxicity, and the case was ruled a homicide.
On Wednesday, Stokes County deputies arrested Martin on a charge of involuntary manslaughter. She recieved a $80,000 bond.
True Lash’s father, Eric Donnell Lash, 47, was found dead on Feb. 3 of an apparent unintentional overdose.
Lash was not the only fentanyl overdose death in Forsyth County in 2020, but she was the youngest.
In 2021, the number of overdose-related administration of Narcan (a medicine used to help combat overdoses) has increased by 17%.
Amanda Clark, a health educator for the county, explained that the number of overdoses across the country is up due to COVID-19-related factors.
“People are struggling with their mental health because they lost a loved one, or they’ve lost a job or just the isolation. It’s definitely been an issue that we’ve seen because it’s so much harder to help someone if there’s no one there who can administer Narcan or call 9-1-1,” Clark said.
Clark is also the leader of the Forsyth Regional Opioid & Substance Use Team, or FROST.
The department specializes in education of drug users, families, and friends of those who abuse drugs. Their objective is to get people on the pathway to get clean, in their own time and in their own way.
Clark explained that in 2020, the country itself saw an increase in opioid deaths.
“70-80-thousand people die of overdoses each year in the country,” Clark said. “That’s like losing the entire population of Surry County a year to drug overdoses.”
From January to March of 2020, Narcan was administered 193 times to 138 patients. In that same time frame in 2021, it was given 246 times to 167 patients.
Clark stressed the numbers are higher than that, due to non-reported cases; cases first responders are not called to.
“Sometimes there are overdoses that we don’t even know about. They happen on somebody’s couch, especially if it’s on somebody’s couch, and they can administer Narcan,” Clark said.