A highly upsetting Facebook Live video showed an elderly couple lying unconscious on a Memphis, Tennessee sidewalk after a drug overdose — but instead of helping them out, passersby laughed and streamed the video on social media.
The woman was trying in vain to crawl while the man was slumped in an unnatural, distorted position.
The couple, who were husband and wife “snorted some heroine” at a nearby chemist shop’s bathroom, said the police report.
A crowd predictably gathered around the vulnerable couple slumped on the ground and started snapping their pictures; however, a driver took pity on them and called 911.
The emergency crew was able to revive the couple and they were then taken to a hospital in noncritical condition.
The woman, identified as Carla Hiers, had an arrest warrant and was taken into custody after she recovered from the ordeal.
Courtland Garner, who uploaded the video, said he has no regrets.
“What they were doing was children things. It was a spectacle. It made me laugh. They can help themselves,” said Garner. “I know for a fact all the kids are on social media, and when kids see that video, you know what they are going to say? I don't want to look stupid like that I don't want to do those drugs.”
However, seeing people suffering from drug abuse is no laughing matter and incidents like these are fast becoming a new norm.
Last month, a woman overdosed and fell unconscious at a Family Dollar discount store in Lawrence, Massachusetts, while she was shopping with her 2-year-old daughter. The little girl was left completely vulnerable and the harrowing video shows her wailing as she tries to awaken her mother.
Another couple lost consciousness while they were driving a car with a 4-year-old child in the backseat. The woman, identified as the boy’s mother, had her airway blocked because of the narcotics and would have lost her life if not for the quick actions of the police.
According to a 2015 study, addiction is America’s most neglected disease. 40 million Americans aged 12 and above, are addicted to alcohol, nicotine and drugs. A further 80 million are “risky substance users” meaning although not addicted, they use drugs, tobacco and alcohol that can threaten public safety.
Opioids are responsible for 61 percent of all overdose deaths and since 2000, opioids overdose has risen 200 percent. 2014 witnessed the highest ever death by overdose in the United States — 47,055 people died from OD'ing, a figure that is 1.5 times greater than the number killed in car crashes.
Within just 15 years, from 1999 to 2014, the drug epidemic has spread from a few remote areas of Appalachia and northern New Mexico to every nook and cranny in America.
Earlier this year, President Obama announced a $1 billion dollar budget proposal for combating opioid and heroin overdose, but for an epidemic that has as many facets as this one, many more solutions will be needed.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Mike Blake