After a grotesque heroin overdose, authorities from an Ohio city have posted graphic photos of the scene on Facebook. In East Liverpool, two adults were found passed out in a car with a little boy in the backseat. The boy is only 4-years-old, and can be seen secured in a car seat in the backseat of the car. The female in the front passenger seat is the boy’s grandmother, who had custody of him at the time. The city says its reason for posting the photos is to illustrate heroin’s “scourge on the community.”
“We feel it necessary to show the other side of this horrible drug. We are well aware that some may be offended by these images and for that we are truly sorry, but it is time that the non-drug-using public sees what we are now dealing with on a daily basis.”
Fox 8 Cleveland reported that an East Liverpool police officer stopped a car on Wednesday after it nearly hit a school bus. Police said the driver told the officer he was taking his female passenger to a hospital because she was unconscious. The driver then lost consciousness and became unresponsive himself. Both adults were treated by paramedics and eventually became responsive. Both adults were arrested and are now facing charges. The driver, James Acord, 47, was sentenced to six months in jail after pleading no contest to charges of driving under the influence and child endangerment. The passenger, Rhonda Pasek, 50, was also arrested. She pleaded not guilty to charges of endangering a child and disorderly conduct, according to the East Liverpool Review. As of Thursday, both were still in custody and the little boy remains in the care of relatives.
— Lindzi Wessel (@LindziWessel) September 9, 2016
East Liverpool Police Chief John Lane decided that because heroin overdose keeps happening, it was clearly time for people to know about it, and to see it for themselves. Police are finding people passed out or slumped over from heroin overdoses or from overuse of other opiate medications. He’s hoping it will give the public an idea of what these drugs can do to people.
“Enough already. People need to know what is happening. This picture is graphic, it’s disturbing. I need people to get upset and help us take back the streets. I need the presidential candidates to look at this and tell me what they will do to fix it.”
Both Chief Lane and Brian Allen, the city’s safety director, say they hope the picture will have an impact on other drug users. Once they see the other side of what narcotics can do, hopefully people will be deterred from continuing drug use and for non-drug users, maybe they will be convinced not to ever start.
When the couple was initially pulled over, the driver was barely conscious long enough to explain to police where he was going. The woman in the passenger seat was slumped over from the heroin overdose and turning blue. Paramedics were called to the scene and administered Narcan, a medication used to rapidly reverse opiate overdoses. Opiates, such as heroin and certain other natural-based pain medications, can cause respiratory suppression, often severe enough to result in death. Narcan, also called “naloxone,” is an antidote, in a manner of speaking. Both adults were revived and then taken to a local hospital for evaluation and further treatment, and were then released into the custody of police.
When the city made the decision to post the graphic photos publicly, several news stations requested the photos. City officials released them, hoping that by viewing them, the public will be more aware of the ugly side of narcotics use. When the city posted the heroin overdose photos on their Facebook page, they also posted a statement.
“It is time that the non drug using public sees what we are now dealing with on a daily basis. We feel we need to be a voice for the children caught up in this horrible mess. This child can’t speak for himself but we are hopeful his story can convince another user to think twice about injecting this poison while having a child in their custody.”
The post quickly went viral, and the public didn’t hold back when reacting to the graphic photos. The photos showed both adults in the throes of heroin overdose, and police didn’t alter them or disguise them anyway. Initially, reports from the Washington Post said the photos were released without blurring the face of the 4-year-old boy in the backseat. The mayor’s office and the city’s legal council decided to release the photos without blurring the little boy’s face.
Brian Allen, director of public safety, says he wants people to understand what the front lines of the narcotic epidemic in their area actually look like. Officials and rescue personnel are responding to overdoses on a daily basis, and it’s hard for them to see it. He hopes seeing the graphic photos of heroin overdose will make a difference.
“Sometimes the truth is hard to see, and that’s what this photo is. The truth.”
[Photo by Burlingham/Shutterstock Images]