This is a photo you’ll never forget.
This is a photo that drives home the heroin epidemic perhaps like no other.
This is a photo no one wants to see. But it makes a point — which is why an Ohio police department posted it on Facebook. A couple overdosed on heroin and passed out in the front seat of their SUV as the woman’s son, just four years old, sat helpless in his car seat in the back.
Acord’s head was bobbing and he was mumbling.
The police department of East Liverpool, Ohio, last Thursday released photos of James Acord, who apparently overdosed on the drug, on their department’s Facebook page. Next to him sat Rhonda Pasek, the mother of the little boy. The police force went for shock value in posting the disturbing pictures on social media.
“We feel it necessary to show the other side of this horrible drug,” law enforcement officials wrote in their post on Thursday. “We feel we need to be a voice for the children caught up in this horrible mess.”
They added, “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.”
Heroin is a scourge attacking this nation in alarming numbers. Even recovery — as prayed for as it is — is a tense and watchful waiting game for affected American families.
One Massachusetts mother whose adult son is a recovering heroin addict told LifeZette, “Heroin ravages families and ruins lives. Our son is doing well now, but it is still a day-to-day experience — sadly, at his worst I can see him trying to drive a car, endangering everyone out on the road with him.”
The horrific incident in Ohio last week went down like this: Police officer Kevin Thompson on Wednesday spotted a Ford Explorer swerving in and out of traffic and crossing over the double yellow line. He noted this in an incident report, which the department also posted to Facebook.
The driver, James Acord, suddenly slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting a school bus that was unloading children, Thompson wrote. Acord came to a screeching halt in the middle of the street.
[lz_infobox]The Ohio Dept. of Health reported last year that unintentional drug overdoses caused 2,110 deaths of Ohio residents in 2013, 196 more deaths compared to 2012’s total. Opiates were culpable in more than 70 percent of those deaths.[/lz_infobox]
When Thompson approached the driver’s side door and peered inside, he was met with a stunning sight. Acord’s head was bobbing and he was mumbling — he was trying to tell Thompson he was driving Pasek to the hospital. He eventually “went completely unconscious,” according to the officer’s report.
In the passenger seat, Pasek was turning blue with a pink powdery substance in a folded piece of paper between her legs.
Acord started switching gears to try to drive away, but Thompson reached inside the SUV, turned off the engine and removed the keys, he stated in his report. Then, Acord “went completely unconscious.”
Emergency Medical Service workers responded and administered the drug Narcan to reverse the effects of a heroin overdose, The New York Post reported. The pair eventually regained consciousness and were rushed to the hospital, where they were listed in stable condition.
Acord was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, endangering children, and slowing or stopping in a roadway. Pasek was charged with endangering children, public intoxication and not wearing a seat belt.
Pasek’s little boy is now in the custody of the Columbiana County Children’s Services, the Post reported — yet another victim of the blight of heroin on this nation.
The posting of the graphic images by the police force was controversial. Many commenters were concerned about the child being shown in the images (his image was later blurred in the post). Other applauded the drastic measure by the police department.
Many were dismayed and upset for the innocent child. Facebook user Jamie Rogers commented, “I feel so bad for that child, he’s going to be traumatized the rest of his life. God bless him.”
Another user, Deanna Terrian, posted simply, “They need professional help.”
“My life will forever be touched by heroin,” said the Massachusetts mother. “I live on pins and needles.”