Social Media Overdose Pictures: Invasive or Important PSA?

When one Indiana woman decided to get high on heroin in her car, she accidentally overdid it. A passerby saw that she was passed out and called for help. It took two doses of naloxone, a medication that can reverse the effects of opiate overdose, to revive her. She woke up to criminal charges: possession of drug paraphernalia and child neglect. Her 10-month-old son was in the backseat, crying.Police officers did more than just arrest her, however. They took a picture of her passed out in the driver’s seat of her vehicle with a needle in her hand and posted it on social media. Why? To demonstrate to the public that this is not an isolated occurrence; it happens all the time.

Marshal Matthew Tallent said: “Parents are doing this more often with children in the car because they are doing it away from someone who is going to disapprove. This is becoming a new norm for drug users.”

Social Media Overdose Pictures: Invasive or Important

This viral photo comes a month after police in Ohio similarly posted a photo of an overdosed couple in a car with a 4-year-old boy sitting in the backseat.

With the photo, police posted: “We feel it necessary to show the other side of this horrible drug. We feel we need to be a voice for the child caught up in this horrible mess. This child can’t speak for himself but we are hopeful his story can convince other users to think twice about injecting this poison while having a child in their custody.”

Rising Rates of Overdose Deaths

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the rate of deaths caused by drug overdose has leaped by 137 percent since the year 2000. That includes a 200 percent increase in the rate of deaths caused by opiate overdose (e.g., use of prescription painkillers and heroin). This has infected every part of our country: small towns, big cities, and the suburbs. Men and women; young, old, and middle-aged; all income brackets; all races – no one has been able to avoid the burn of addiction. Prescription painkillers and heroin are responsible for a huge percentage of these deaths, but so too are other drugs – benzodiazepines, methamphetamine, synthetic cannabinoids, and combinations of these drugs. There is no one culprit, but 100 different threats, and the best way to combat them is through increased education on the risk of drug use and abuse and increased access to treatment.

Education and Awareness

Making the Connection

Seeing the stark truth that defines addiction can make it very real that the only thing that can genuinely help to impact this disease is ongoing treatment and support. A quick stint in rehab is not an effective fix. Rather, intensive and comprehensive treatment that lasts for at least 90 days, is extended if necessary, and also followed by a year or more of intensive supportive aftercare are critical to creating a new life in recovery. The work is difficult; it does not happen overnight. But it is well worth the effort – not just for the individual but for the people around them who love them and need them to be well.

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