A 5-year-old Ohio boy who was forced to walk two blocks in his bare feet after both of his parents overdosed on heroin is being hailed as a hero, and the parents are now behind bars.
The incident happened in Middleton, where police were called to a home for a report of a possible overdose, Fox News reported. It turned out that a 5-year-old boy had seen his parents overdose on heroin and thought they had died, so he walked to a nearby relative in the dead of night to get help.
Paramedics were able to administer life-saving heroin antidote on the unresponsive parents.
And it may not have just been the adults who were saved by the 5-year-old boy. Police said they found a 3-month-old baby strapped in a car seat nearby.
The police department said that the boy was a hero for his brave actions.
“This 5 year old child, a hero, saved 3 lives today,” the department noted on its Facebook page.
“How can something so awesome be so sad all at the same time? We brought the young boy and infant into the police department after the incident. He was given a badge for being so brave.”
The incident also prompted Middleton police to issue a public warning on Facebook, asking that anyone with heroin addiction — or with a family member who is addicted — to seek help.
“IT HAS TO STOP! PLEASE get help before it’s too late. Not only to save yourself, but to save your kids. Give these kids a chance by getting help. If you or someone you love has a drug problem, please seek help right now. Here are a few resources to help get you started in the right direction – Share them with those who need it.”
Ohio has been one of the states hardest hit by the recent heroin epidemic, which has become a national issue as many drug suppliers and dealers have started to use dangerous prescription drugs to cut the heroin, leading to a sharp rise in overdoses.
— CNN (@CNN) May 21, 2017
Heroin overdose deaths have more than quadrupled from 2010 to 2015, the National Center for Health Statistics found. The center noted that heroin was involved in 8 percent of all overdose deaths in 2010, but that number jumped to 25 percent by 2015, Reuters reported.
The study found that Ohio was one of the states with the highest drug overdose death rates, along with West Virginia, Kentucky, and New Hampshire.
The number of heroin deaths in Ohio is so acute that in Stark County officials ran out of room in the morgue.
“I’ve been involved in public safety for 40 some years; I remember the drug problem we had in the late ’60s and early ’70s when I joined the department,” Rick Walters, an investigator for the Stark County coroner’s office, told the Washington Post. “The fatality numbers are nothing even close to this.”
As bad as the heroin epidemic has been nationwide, it’s even worse in Ohio, the report noted.
“According to the Ohio Department of Health, the number of opioid-related deaths skyrocketed from 296 in 2003 to 2,590 in 2015 — a 775 percent jump over a 13-year period. These numbers include deaths involving prescription opioids, heroin and fentanyl, which is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent.”
Rich Hamburg, vice president of the non-profit group Trust for America’s Health, told Reuters that many people have become addicted to heroin after being prescribed opiod painkillers.
“You are 40 times more likely to use heroin if you started with opioid painkillers,” Hamburg said. “Heroin is part of America’s larger drug abuse problem.”
— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) May 19, 2017
The parents of the 5-year-old boy — identified as Lee Johnson and Chelsie Marshall — admitted to police that they had been using heroin. They were jailed on child endangerment charges.
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