Disturbing footage released by Massachusetts police on Wednesday shows a woman passed out in a store as her toddler, wearing pink “Frozen” pajamas, desperately tugs at her hand.
Police suspect the woman overdosed on heroin inside the Lawrence Family Dollar store, NECN reported.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Lawrence Police Chief James Fitzpatrick told NECN of the video, shot Sunday afternoon. “This is definitely evidence that shows what addiction can do to someone and what happens when they use these types of narcotics.”
Responding officers allegedly found drug residue and paraphernalia in the woman’s bag while searching for her identification, the Eagle Tribune reported, citing a police report.
Paramedics reportedly revived the woman, identified as a 36-year-old from Salem, New Hampshire, with two doses of the opiate antidote Narcan. She denied overdosing on drugs and said she “was just tired and dozed off,” according to the police report.
Her child was taken into emergency custody by the Department of Children and Families following the incident, NECN reported. Police did not immediately return The Huffington Post’s request for comment on Thursday.
Only four states have seen more heroin overdoses than Massachusetts, according to the Boston Globe. But police around the country are seeing similarly harrowing scenes as the U.S. battles an opioid epidemic.
This is definitely evidence that shows what addiction can do to someone and what happens when they use these types of narcotics. Lawrence Police Chief James Fitzpatrick
Earlier this month, police in East Liverpool, Ohio, shared a photo showing two adults passed out in a car with a little boy in the backseat. The photo, posted on Facebook, went viral, but has also been criticized as insensitive and unhelpful.
“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 post read. “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.”
After four people died from suspected heroin overdoses in March, the Dodge County Sheriff’s office in Wisconsin wrote on Facebook, “This overdose problem continues to be a daily problem that our emergency responders, hospitals, and physicians are struggling with.”
Last week, footage emerged of a child with an unconscious couple in a vehicle in Milwaukee. The adults in the video, which was filmed in March, were treated with Narcan and had a bottle of pills, nearly all opioids, in their possession, WCMH reported. Fox 6 has since reported that one of them, 41-year-old Matthew Huber, was among 13 people who died of suspected overdoses in Milwaukee over Labor Day weekend.
Each day, 78 people in the U.S. die from opioid overdoses from both prescription opioid painkillers ― like oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone ― and illicit drugs like heroin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers have a higher risk of becoming addicted to heroin, since such medications can be a gateway drug. According to a 2013 study cited by the CDC, approximately 3 in 4 new heroin users report having previously abused prescription opioids.