Police in the city of East Liverpool say they came across an SUV on Wednesday driving erratically before braking hard to avoid hitting a school bus.
Although the bus eventually moved on, the SUV stayed still.
When officers approached the car, they found the driver, James Acord, “bobbing” his head back and forth while his speech was “almost unintelligible,” according to the police report.
The 47-year-old told police he was trying to bring his partner, Rhonda Pasek, to the hospital, who was described as being “completely unconscious and turning blue.”
Acord attempted to make a getaway, but the officer reached into the vehicle and removed the keys.
It was at that point police spotted the 4-year-old child sitting in the back seat, later identified as Pasek’s son.
Acord “eventually went completely unconscious” as well, police say.
An ambulance was called to the scene and both users were given Narcan, a common way to reverse an opioid overdose.
Once they regained consciousness, they were taken to the hospital, but now the driver is headed to jail after police found a “pink powdery substance” in their car.
In a controversial move, particularly for those who trying to combat the stigma of drug addiction, police posted two images of the car on Facebook, showing them slumped over in the front seat while the child can be seen behind them.
“We feel it necessary to show the other side of this horrible drug [heroin],” the post opines. “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.”
The child has been placed with a family friend.
Instead of getting drug rehab for their addiction, Acord and Pasek now face criminal charges.
The driver pleaded no contest on Thursday to driving under the influence and endangering children. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail and a $475 fine, according to the Morning Journal.
Pasek, 50, pled not guilty to charges of endangering children and disorderly conduct, as well as a seat belt violation.
Opioid addiction is a growing epidemic in America, causing more deaths than gunshots or car crashes. In spite of that, many opioid-containing drugs are legally available in the US and pharmaceutical companies rake in billions of dollars in profit.