If two photos could capture the intensity of the heroin epidemic in America at the moment, these are the ones.
It was posted on Facebook by the City of East Liverpool, Ohio, which acknowledges that it violates the privacy of the couple and the 4-year-old boy, but it says it has no choice.
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. 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.
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.
“Sometimes the truth is a gruesome thing,” Safety Director Brian Allen tells the Associated Press, which says the couple is the boy’s grandmother and her boyfriend. “And that picture is the truth of what my officers deal with every single day.
“I like the approach about trying to get the public from ever starting using these drugs rather than thinking about how to lock them up once they’ve started,” Wes Oliver, director of the Criminal Justice Program at Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh, told the AP.
In Akron, Ohio on Friday night, the public safety department responded to 24 separate incidents of drug overdoses.
The couple was revived with Narcan.
Related: Why isn’t Chicago’s violence crisis treated like suburban heroin epidemic? (Chicago Tribune)