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Out of control: Mother’s dangerous dalliance with fentanyl

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 5:35 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -It was a story that likely caused many parents to shiver and shake their heads.

A toddler, unresponsive after being exposed to the powerful opiate fentanyl. Firemen rushing to a south Truckee Meadows home, reviving him. His mother arrested, only to cause a hazmat incident by apparently smuggling more of the drug into the jail.

There’s more to this story. A tale of a life apparently spinning out of control, endangering a young family and it’s all related in a series of arrest reports and documents KOLO 8 News Now has obtained.

Thirty year old Elizabeth Marie Irvin was, in fact, already wanted on warrants for failure to appear to answer drug possession charges dating back to April and July when Washoe County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the home Sunday morning, November 7th. She and her boyfriend had been arrested for possession of heroin and oxycodone.

That morning, she told investigators she was cooking breakfast when the boy start wheezing and stopped breathing. When firemen arrived she admitted she used opiates, though she said she kept them away from the boy and his three year old sister. Investigators would later find two small rocks of fentanyl on the kitchen floor.

According to the arrest report she knew the potential consequences when she called for help, but did so because she didn’t want her child to die just because she said “I’m retarded.”

She was alternately cooperative with officers and evasive. At one point as her home was being searched, Irvin slipped away only to be found hiding in a nearby ditch, admitting she’d called her boyfriend to pick her up in an attempt to flee.

Arrested and booked, she was accused of smuggling more of the drug into the jail causing the hazmat incident.

Incredibly, it wasn’t the first time she’d been accused of doing that. After her July arrest, her cellmate told a deputy in detention, Irvin had been crushing pills and doing a line of what turned out to be oxycodone in her cell. She’d been strip-searched, but had apparently smuggled the pills in a body cavity, telling deputies she had an infection that prevented them from conducting a more thorough search. It’s believed she used the same ruse last week.

Elizabeth Irvin now faces a list of 11 different charges ranging from possession to child abuse to concealing evidence.

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