Police in Hope, Indiana, released a chilling photo of a mother passed out behind the steering wheel of her car from an apparent drug overdose with a syringe in her hand. Crying in the backseat: her 10-month-old son.
“Parents are doing this more often with children in the car because they are doing it away from someone who is going to disapprove,” marshal Matthew Tallent told IndyStar. “This is becoming a new norm for drug users.”
Erika Hurt’s vehicle was parked outside a Dollar General store on Saturday, October 22, when a passerby noticed the 25-year-old was unconscious and called 911.
Officers revived Hurt with two doses of Narcan, an emergency treatment used to reverse narcotic drug overdoses, CNN reported. She was later charged with child neglect and possession of drug paraphernalia.
“Had this woman not passed out from this and attempted to drive right afterward, she could have driven down the road, passed out two minutes later and hit a car with a family in it, killed every one of them,” Tallent told CNN. “That’s the thing that’s so shocking to me to think about.”
According to CNN, Hurt’s son lives with his maternal grandmother, Jami Smith, who was granted guardianship over him by Child Protective Services.
Smith — who is angry that authorities shared the picture — told Fox59 that her daughter had been released from rehab earlier this month. “This was a mistake. I do not condone it. Trust me, there is nobody that was more angry than me,” Smith said. “Once she was back up on her feet, before she even went to the hospital, she knew how angry I was.”
In September, police in East Liverpool, Ohio, released similar photos of a couple who had allegedly overdosed in their SUV while a 4-year-old boy sat alert and helpless in the backseat.
“We feel it necessary to show the other side of this horrible drug. We feel we need to be a voice for the child caught up in this horrible mess,” read an update on the City of East Liverpool, Ohio, Facebook page. “This child can’t speak for himself but we are hopeful his story can convince other users to think twice about injecting this poison while having a child in their custody.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 78 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.
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