Police in Ohio posted shocking, graphic photos of two adults they believed to have overdosed on heroin, passed out in a car with a young child in the backseat.
The city of East Liverpool, Ohio, posted the photos, along with a police report detailing the incident, on their Facebook page Thursday.
Police said they hoped the images, which were shared more than 17,000 times, would send a message to drug users to think twice.
“We feel it necessary to show the other side of this horrible drug,” they wrote. “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.”
An officer on duty saw a dark Ford Explorer weaving back and forth on a road just after 3 p.m. on Wednesday, skidding to a stop near children getting off a school bus.
The officer approached the car, noticing that the driver, later identified as James Acord, had unintelligible speech and his head was bobbing back and forth.
He told officers he was taking the woman in the passenger seat, Rhonda Pasek, to the hospital. The officer reached in the car, according to the police report, turned the car and removed the keys. He then noticed a 4-year-old boy sitting in the backseat, later identified as Pasek’s son.
Pasek was unconscious and turning blue, and the responding officer said Acord went unconscious as well. He summoned an ambulance, administered the drug Narcan, used to reverse the effects of an opiate overdose.
Pasek and Acord regained consciousness and were taken to the hospital. Acord was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, endangering children, and slowing or stopping in a roadway, police said. Pasek was charged with endangering children, public intoxication, and not wearing a seat belt.
The child was placed in the custody of children’s protective services, according to police.
“We are well aware that some may be offended by these images and for that we are truly sorry, but it is time that the non drug using public sees what we are now dealing with on a daily basis,” they added. “The poison known as heroin has taken a strong grip on many communities not just ours.”
“We are willing to fight this problem until it’s gone and if that means we offend a few people along the way we are prepared to deal with that.”