New Hampshire woman Mandy McGowen, who overdosed in a store with her 2-year-old daughter, has spoken out about her battle with drug addiction and unsuccessful attempts to get help, CBS Boston is reporting.
The 36-year-old woman, who initially denied that she had passed out from drug use and said she was just tired, admitted she had sniffed fentanyl before she got an unexpected call to pick up her daughter. She said after picking up the child, she headed to a local Family Dollar store to pick up some diapers and blanked out.
“If I knew I was going to be like that, I wouldn’t have my daughter with me. That’s not what I want her to see. It shouldn’t have happened period. I shouldn’t have taken anything or been where I was or who I was with.”
In the shocking video, McGowen is seen sprawled unconscious with her terrified toddler in pink pajamas tugging and crying for her mother to wake up in the toy section of the store. The dramatic video was shot by an employee of the store. Police Chief James Fitzpatrick said it was heartbreaking to see a child put in such a difficult situation.
McGowen said she had tried to get help for her addiction by entering a treatment program, but had to leave because her New Hampshire medical insurance was rejected. She said she was still considering options when she blanked out on the floor of the store.
The 36-year-old woman has since checked into a local treatment rehabilitation center and is now trying to regain custody of her toddler daughter, who is now in state care. Police say they are still considering pressing child endangerment charges against the Massachusetts woman.
The video has since gone viral and McGowen has revealed that it is hard to stomach being pointed out as the woman who overdosed in a store with a two-year-old. She admitted that she had hit rock bottom and is trying to use the unfortunate incident to change her situation permanently.
Grandmother overdoses on heroin with infant in backseat, police say https://t.co/zlwHlBYO5b
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) September 22, 2016
Unfortunately, scenes like the one captured on the cell phone are nothing new in Massachusetts where the drug epidemic is commonplace, and the number of people who overdose is more than double the national average. Most of the drug users overdose on prescription pills and heroin.
According to a report from the Department of Public Health, Massachusetts had over 1,659 accidental opioid overdose deaths in 2015. Twenty-two of those deaths were from Lawrence, a city notorious for serving as a conduit for heroin trafficking via the Marrimack Valley into New England and Canada.
Emergency responders who arrived at the store had given the motionless mom two doses of Narcan, a prescription drug that reverses overdoses by blocking the effects of opioids. Police had found recently used drug paraphernalia in her bag, but could not charge Mandy McGown for drugs because she did not have enough in her possession.
— Dr. Joseph Mercola (@mercola) September 21, 2016
Lawrence Police Captain Roy Vasque, who spearheads the department’s Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit, said he was not surprised with the chilling video shot in Family Dollar, pointing out that police were encountering brazen drug users who brought their children along when they bought drugs or used them on a daily basis.
“To put a child in such a situation shows how strong the addiction is. We certainly point that out to them. We’ll say, ‘Do you understand the danger you are putting your child in?'”
Mandy McGowen’s two-year-old daughter was taken into custody by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. McGowen is hoping that her treatment would be successful so that she can get her daughter back.
“I want to learn to love myself again, to look in the mirror and be happy.”
[Featured Image by Foto Maximum/iStock]