|The now-famous couple in the midst|
of a heroin overdose with a four
year old boy in the back seat
According to Reuters and numerous other media outlets, the East Liverpool, Ohio police department distributed photos of a couple in a car, passed out from a heroin overdose, with the woman's scared four year old grandson in the back seat.
The photos went totally viral, and millions of people have seen them. One of the photos is in this post, as you can see.
The point of releasing the photo, says the East Liverpool police department, was to publicize how bad and how sad drug addiction is in Ohio and everywhere else.
"We are well aware that some may be offended by these images and for that we are truly sorry ,but is time that the non drug using public sees what we are now dealing with on a daily basis," said East Liverpool police in a Facebook post.
The passed-out couple, James Acord, 50, and Rhonda Pasek, 47, are charged with child endangerment.
The couple had been stopped by police because Acord was driving the Ford Explorer erratically. When the officer got to the car, Pacek was out cold and Acord lost consciousness.
They were given Narcan, the medication that reverses these kind of drug overdoses, and perked back up.
I think a lot of people, including myself, have strong feelings both approving of the idea of releasing these photos and against it.
On the in favor side, I can understand the exasperation of the East Liverpool, Ohio police department. Every day, both where I live in Vermont, and just about everywhere else, we hear about opioid and heroin addictions running rampant.
In Burlington, Vermont recently, we had a situation that was very similar to that in East Liverpool, but in the Vermont case, police did not share photos on social media.
In Burlington, in early July a couple passed out in a car from heroin on a hot day with a five year old boy inside the vehicle with them. The boy screamed for help, The screams caught the attention of passerby, who called police.
"My mommy and daddy aren't waking up,!" the boy yelled, according to police.
If that doesn't make you both incredibly sad and make your blood boil, you're not human.
The photos from the East Liverpool police department telegraphed the frustration of police and made a stab at creating public awareness. A good thing.
However, I wonder about privacy here. The boy's face is blurred out in the photos, but it would be easy for a local to figure out who he is.
Plus, the passed out couple is easily identifiable and their names were publicized in many media outlets, including this one.
Of course, what the couple did was dangerous and awful and they deserved to be punished. They ARE in legal trouble, for sure. But I have mixed emotions about having their faces and photos splashed all over the Internet, like I admittedly did here.
The couple's arrest, and the circumstances of it, are a matter of public record. I wonder if this infamous photo will haunt them for the rest of their lives, or maybe help turn it around.
They've already lost the kid, who's had a chaotic life. Just six weeks before the photo was taken, Pacek was granted custody of the boy because his own parents were incapable of raising him, says Fox 8 in Cleveland. He has since been placed with a great aunt and great uncle in South Carolina.
Maybe I'm having a Pollyanna moment, but it would be nice if the pair are at least as horrified as the rest of us are at the photo and find a way to get clean. It's hard, but I hope they do it.
Or, at the very least, I hope other addicts see the photo, and maybe it will inspire them, to try to get clean.
It'll help all of us. Including a couple of terrified little boys in Ohio and Vermont.