Two adults were arrested during the first week of September for driving out of control and eventually skidding to a stop as a school bus was dropping off children in East Liverpool, Ohio. The photo police took at the scene has since gone viral.
The driver, 47-year-old James Acord, and his passenger, 50-year-old Rhonda Pasek, were both suspected to be high on heroin.
Police arrived on the scene and found both adults passed out in the front seats of the vehicle.
When an officer attempted to turn the car off, they saw a child in the back seat of the car.
In the photo, the two adults can be seen in the front seats, while the child sits quietly in the back.
Police Chief John Lane suspects that this isn’t the first time the four-year-old boy has been put in danger by his parent’s addiction.
“I imagine that little kid that’s in that car, he’s probably seen that at home probably dozens of times where they’re passed out with needles in their arms,” he said.
Unfortunately, this is a reality for countless children. Approximately 5.21 million mothers and 214,000 fathers identify as stay-at-home parents, but the number of those parents with drug addiction is less clear.
This isn’t the first incidence of a public overdose, either.
In fact, Ohio officials reported at least 24 heroin overdoses in Akron alone, with over 112 deaths across the state so far in 2016.
People aren’t getting high in privacy either. Certain public places are associated with heroin use, but the most recent victims of this drug are American libraries.
In suburban Chicago, a 47-year-old man’s body was found three days after he had died in a library restroom from an accidental heroin overdose.
“On both a personal and a professional level, we were all very shocked and of course worried about how this could happen in our spaces,” said executive director David Seleb, who fired the security company responsible for clearing the library before closing.
All over the country, libraries are being monitored by police officers making rounds and social workers setting up shop.
Library officials believe that by placing officers and social workers in this environment, citizens will be more aware of their actions and the people around them.
“Anonymity allows people to do things they wouldn’t do otherwise in public places,” said Josie Parker, director of the Ann Arbor District Library in Michigan, “and if you can take away anonymity, you can help change behavior.”
Unfortunately, the behavior of the Ohio boy’s parents didn’t change. He was taken into the protective custody of children’s services after his parents were admitted to the hospital.
East Liverpool police said that they shared the photos in an effort to “show the other side of this horrible drug,” as well as to be a voice for children who can’t speak for themselves in those situations.