Heartbreaking footage, released by police in Lawrence, Massachusetts, shows a mother lying unconscious on the floor of a Family Dollar discount store. Her 2-year-old daughter is crying and tugging at her mother’s hand in an attempt to get her up.
When officers arrived at the scene and conducted a search of her bag, it was revealed the woman had baggies and straws with drug residue, which is suspected to be either oral heroin or narcotic like fentanyl. She was then taken to a hospital where she needed two doses of Narcan, an opiate antidote, to wake up.
“It's very disturbing to see someone obviously in the matter of addiction where it overtakes someone where they're not able to take care of their child, leaves their child vulnerable,” Lawrence Police Chief James Fitzpatrick stated.
“This is definitely evidence that shows what addiction can do to someone and what happens when they use these types of narcotics,” he added.
“I think it's indicative of so many things going on in our society now,” said Deanna Cruz, who helps run an opioid prevention program for Merrimack Valley. “People need long term sustained resources to get their addiction under control. And that's what we don't have.”
She also criticized the people who were content with filming the horrific incident instead of helping the little girl.
Police said the mother will be charged with child endangerment and her daughter is in emergency custody with the Department of Children and Families.
Children are the drug epidemic’s most vulnerable victims and not all are as lucky as the little girl in the video above.
Brayden Cummings was just 6 weeks old when high on methamphetamine, Xanax and methadone prescribed to his mother to kick her heroin addiction, she fell unconscious on him and suffocated him to death.
Additionally, little Brayden was one of 130,000 children born in the United States in the last 10 years who are dependent on drugs since birth, thanks to mothers who are battling addictions or using drugs during pregnancy.
Reuters identified 47 other children since 2010, who were exposed to drugs even before they were born, sent home to drug using parents and died easily preventable deaths living in unsafe conditions.
A 12-year-old federal law, Keeping Children and Families Safe Act, requires states to safeguard babies who are drug dependent or have drug dependent parents but the effort is failing across America, endangering a whole generation of children.
In 2003, when the law was enacted, about 5,000 drug dependent babies were born across the nation and the number has drastically increased since then. In 75 percent of the 110 fatalities that Reuters identified, the mother was implicated in her child’s death. In the rest of the cases, it was the husband, boyfriend or other relatives.
The danger is not just real for babies but for adults as well. In 1999, Americans had fatal drug overdoses at the rate of 6 per 100,000. In 2014, the number was 14.8 per 100,000 — almost three times higher than America’s homicide death which stands at 5 per 100,000.
Since 2000, drug poisoning has risen almost 1,500 percent coinciding with the rise of oxycodone, which is reported to be favored by white people. Upper and middle class drug users can afford their drug habits and often have a strong support network that can help them out.
This is not true for poorer communities.
Drug addictions can ruin one financially, not just physically, and leads to crime to fund the habit. Also the support network is often lacking and the justice system is not lenient toward drug abusers. Unfortunately, people think they're immune to addiction, and they don't find out the truth until it may be too late.
Banner credit: Facebook, Lawrence Police Department