If anyone wants to know how opiate addiction is affecting lives, let them see this video of a mom who overdosed in a dollar store beside her 2-year-old daughter, who was trying to revive her until help arrived.
Released by Massachusetts' Lawrence Police Department, the video was taken on Sept. 18 at a Family Dollar Store. According to authorities, the mother had suffered a drug overdose and was administered two doses of Narcan, an opiate antidote, by first responders to bring her back.
The mother was sent to the hospital for treatment after the incident, but has since been released. There was not enough drugs in the mother's person for the police to charge her with drug possession, but she is looking at child endangerment charges.
When the police arrived at the dollar store, they found baggies, a straw and drug residue in the woman's bag. It was not clear if she had been taking heroin or fentanyl.
And the child?
She's in the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Family Services. Due to confidentiality laws, agency spokesperson Andrea Grossman said that more information about the child could not be released.
Lawrence Police Chief James Fitzpatrick said he knows the video is upsetting, but it was released with the hope that it will aid in showing how powerful addiction can be.
"This region and the whole Northeast is struggling with the opiate crisis," he added.
A Recurring, Growing Problem
Earlier in September, East Liverpool City authorities also released graphic photos of a couple passed out after overdosing on what is believed to be heroin while in a car with a child. The two were administered Narcan as well, and were taken to the hospital to recover.
James Lee Acord, whose erratic driving tipped off the police to pull them over, was charged with driving under the influence of drugs and child endangerment, while Rhonda Pasek, who was the child's grandmother, was slapped with public intoxication and child endangerment, as well as a charge for not wearing a seatbelt.
According to Brian Allen, East Liverpool City's public service and safety director, the city's opioid problem is overwhelming. There are not enough places to send addicted victims to, so those arrested find themselves in the same mess the minute they are back out.
Opioid Addiction At A Glance
In 2012, about 467,000 people in the United States were addicted to heroin, while 2.1 million individuals suffered substance use disorders associated with prescription opioid painkillers.
Today, researchers estimate that 100 million prescription opioids go unused every year after people go in for wisdom teeth removal. This contributes to the opioid epidemic as leftover pills can be misused.