Heroin in White America: Ohio Police Release Striking Photo of Overdosing Couple With Child in Backseat

(AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND OUT) Generic heroin, 20 November 1997. AFR Picture by JESSICA HROMAS (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images)

Heroin in White America: Ohio Police Release Striking Photo of Overdosing Couple With Child in Backseat

Not the typical image of those suffering from drug addiction the country has grown comfortable with.

Published September 9, 2016

In grade school, teachers and anti-drug programs try their hardest to educate you about the harmful and dangerous effects of hard drugs. As time goes on, those informational videos fade away and life takes over. Unfortunately, drugs still become an active part of many people’s lives, yet police officers in Ohio are hoping to change that. 

Officers in East Liverpool City conducted a traffic stop on Wednesday after they received a report about a Ford Explorer with a West Virginia plate driving erratically and weaving in and out of lanes.

When Officer Kevin Thompson approached the vehicle, he found the driver, James Acord, in a severely altered state. Thompson recalls seeing Acord’s head "bobbing back and forth.” He also noticed “his speech was almost unintelligible."

Thompson also noticed the passenger, Rhonda Pasek, was completely passed out in the front seat. Thompson believed that Acord was trying to explain that he was taking Pasek to the hospital.

Then Thompson noticed something extra troubling: a young boy sat in the backseat of the car. The presence of this child inspired Thompson and the rest of the department to share the images of the child’s parents as well as a warning.

“We feel it necessary to show the other side of this horrible drug. We feel we need to be a voice for the children caught up in this horrible mess,” the department wrote in a Facebook post. “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.”

The post has been shared almost 20,000 times and is clearly making an impact. The photos and the story of the Paseks come at a time where heroin use in white and suburban neighborhoods has seen a dramatic spike, which has created more of a national need to fight the drug and its addictive qualities.

Public use and images of the drug are nothing new to many urban communities. Yet, the images of people who one would never expect to be drug addicts have become more common, thus the message to fight the drug has shifted.

“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. The poison known as heroin has taken a strong grip on many communities not just ours, the difference is 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,” the post concludes.

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: Fairfax Media via Getty Images)


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