BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — Two Florida women have been arrested on child neglect charges after they allegedly overdosed on heroin together with their infant children in their car.
The Boynton Beach Police Department posted about the matter on Friday, stating that it wanted to make the situation public “in hopes of preventing it from happening again and prompting anyone addicted to drugs to seek help.”
Kristen O’Connor, 27, of Coral Springs met June Schweinhart, 28, of Lake Worth at a drug rehabilitation program and became friends, both being pregnant at the time.
On Thursday, while out together with their babies—one month and two months old—O’Connor received a text from her drug dealer and decided to purchase $60 worth of heroin and snort it in the car.
“One of them began to overdose, so the other called 911, but then she too started convulsing,” police explained on social media. “Fortunately, there was a Good Samaritan nearby who saw all of this happening and took the phone from her to speak with dispatchers.”
Police arrived to find O’Connor unresponsive. Both women were transported to Bethesda Hospital East to be treated for overdoses, while officers took care of the babies.
“Officers brought the babies back to the police department, where they were snuggled for several hours,” the police department said. “The Department of Children and Families responded to take custody of the babies, who were eventually turned over to family members.”
O’Connor and Schweinhart were soon arrested and charged with child neglect. They were released from the Palm Beach County Jail after posting bond, the Sun-Sentinel reports. Police are seeking the dealer who sold the women the drugs.
“This is an incredibly tragic situation and ultimately, the ones most affected by this are those innocent, beautiful babies,” the Boynton Beach Police Department stated. “We hope this serves as a wake up call for these moms, and that they seek further treatment for their addiction.”
As previously reported, last October, authorities in Hope, Indiana likewise shared photographs of a mother passed out from a heroin overdose with her 10-month-old son in the back seat. The woman had just been released from rehab.
“My intention with these photos is not to shame the mother, although I realize it may appear embarrassing,” 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.”
Erica Hurt, then 25, was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and child neglect, and her son was placed in her mother’s custody.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced in February that drug overdose deaths have nearly tripled over a period of almost two decades, as an estimated 16 out of every 100,000 Americans lost their lives from an overdose in 2015, compared to 6 in 1999.