Less than two weeks ago, photos of an Ohio couple in the throes of a heroin overdose went viral, putting an unavoidably human face on the American opioid and heroin epidemic. The photo showed the couple unconscious slumped over in their seats, drugs and paraphernalia nearby, while the four-year-old in their care sat in the backseat, perfectly conscious and alert. While the decision to display the photos met with widespread controversy, Liverpool, Ohio law enforcement insisted that the public should see what they encounter on a daily basis in an effort to bring further attention and resources to the problem. Regardless of where one may come down on their publication of the photos, they did ignite vigorous conversation and attention. Yesterday, a heartbreaking and raw video, which has also gone viral, seemed to pick up right where these photos left off, this time about 720 miles away in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
The video in question shows a mother lying in the middle of the aisle in a Lawrence toy store, unconscious from an apparent overdose. Her two-year-old daughter is pulling at her arm to try and revive her. While police were able to revive the woman after two doses of Narcan, the image has left Lawrence residents and others around the world absolutely shaken by the tragic reality of addiction. Recovery Unplugged has chosen to respect our readers’ respective thresholds for graphic material and not include the video on our website. Those interested in seeing the video can click HERE. We would like to reiterate that it may not be suitable for sensitive viewers.
Although it’s certainly troubling that the videographer didn’t immediately help the child, the recording is being used as a key piece of evidence as Lawrence authorities have charged the woman with child endangerment. Combined with drug paraphernalia found in the woman’s bag, straws and baggies with drug residue, they believe she had overdosed on an oral version of heroin or an opiate-based narcotic like fentanyl. Lawrence authorities decried the tragic commonality of these overdoses in the community and reported that about 10 percent of them involve children.
As the public is confronted more and more by these shocking and horrific images, it is the hope of law enforcement, prevention advocates and all other stakeholders that they will call much-needed attention to what has become the nation’s leading public health crisis.