HOPE, Ind. — Authorities in Indiana have released photos of a young mother who was found passed out from a heroin overdose last weekend—with a baby in the back seat of the car.
“My intention with these photos is not to shame the mother, although I realize it may appear embarrassing,” Hope Town Marshal Matthew Tallent told reporters. “I honestly think this picture should be used as an educational tool because I want people to see what this drug is doing.”
The matter unfolded on Saturday in the parking lot of Dollar General in Hope, Indiana, as Erika Hurt, 25, was found unresponsive but with a syringe still being clutched in her hand.
But that’s not all they found. The woman’s 10-month-old son was also discovered crying in his car seat.
Police revived the woman after administering two doses of Narcan, a nasal spray that works to reverse suspected Opioid overdoses. Hurt was transported to the Columbus Regional Hospital for further evaluation, and later taken to Bartholomew County Jail, where she was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and child neglect.
Tallent says that if the woman hadn’t fell unconscious in the parking lot, she could have endangered other drivers.
“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,” he told CNN. “That’s the thing that’s so shocking to me to think about.”
Child Protective Services was also called to the scene, and the baby was turned over to the custody of Hurt’s mother, Jami Smith.
Smith said that while she disagrees with her daughter’s drug use, she doesn’t believe the photos should have been made public either. She told reporters that Hurt had just been released from rehab this month.
But police state that they want others to know the damaging effects of heroin and that it not only is a problem in America’s urban areas, but in the small towns of the nation as well.
As previously reported, a similar situation made headlines last month when an Ohio grandmother and her friend were found in the car passed out from a heroin overdose. The woman’s grandson was riding in the back seat as the two were on their way to the hospital to obtain help.
The City of East Liverpool posted to social media an unblurred photo of the grandmother, Rhonda Pasek, 50, and her friend James Accord, 47—along with the young boy—stating that it needed to “be a voice for the children.”
“We feel it necessary to show the other side of this horrible drug,” officials explained. “We feel we need to be a voice for the children caught up in this horrible mess. 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.”
Pasek was sentenced to serve six months in the Columbiana County Jail. Accord was sentenced to almost a year behind bars for being behind the wheel.