Author: Justin Mckibben
Probably one of the most disturbing articles I have written about my home state of Ohio is one I can’t ignore. Since the photo of the two parents overdose in a car with a child in the back seat first broke it has been covered by pretty much every national news entity. The images have flooded Facebook feeds and internet forums all day. The story has been emailed to me, messaged to me, even texted to me over and over again since the news was first published. Honestly, this image says a lot about what is really going on.
I’ve heard some people insisting the media is on some mission to shock us with these photos and the headlines it’s attached to, but this is the reality! People need to wake up! This is happening in every town, not just the City of East Liverpool, Ohio. This very same situation is reoccurring in rural counties and downtown areas across the nation. Something needs to change, and like I keep saying- we need to change it.
The difference here is that police officers decided to make a statement with the severity of this graphic picture; to tell the story that is happening to families everywhere with one heartbreaking and gut-wrenching hit to the soft spot of our society.
This is what we are doing to our children.
Not a Pretty Picture
The City of East Liverpool, Ohio took to Facebook to share two graphic photos taken by a police officer at the scene of a stop. The post on social media does note that making the photos public was a combined decision by the city administration, law director, and the police department.
In the image we can clearly see a couple that authorities described as overdosing on drugs in the front seat of a car. The mother’s body is hunched and folded over the center console in the front seat of the vehicle. Her face seems shrunken in and dead. The husband is buckled into the front seat, and has nodded out.
The photo is almost abstract. Like two images that obviously don’t belong have been pasted together. The parents in the front seat look as if any sign of color has been drained out of them- it is all so depressing it feels faded and lifeless… then right behind them, in a blue and green t-shirt with cartoon dinosaurs, sitting in what appears to be a car seat, is a 4 year old child. It is an unreal reality… a tragic and despairing truth.
The post that accompanied the pictures powerfully states:
“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.”
So far this post is being both praised and criticized. At one point it had been shared on Facebook more than 12,000 times, and that was a few hours ago. By now that number has undoubtedly skyrocketed.
The Police Report
The police report detailing this story is also posted on Facebook. In the report East Liverpool police officer Kevin Thompson reviewed that on September 7 he was responding to a report of a Ford Explorer with a West Virginia license plate “driving very erratic weaving back and forth” before an abrupt stop in the middle of the road behind a school bus in the process of letting children off. Inside the vehicle the officer found two adults:
The driver, identified as James Acord, was speaking unintelligibly. Acord’s head was bobbing up and down, and eventually became unconscious during the stop. But before passing out Acord told the officer he was taking his front seat passenger to the hospital. The officer had to remove the keys from the vehicle as Acord made a last attempt to drive away.
The passenger, identified as Rhonda Pasek, was completely unconscious and “turning blue” according to Thompson.
Inside the car, police found a “yellow folded up piece of paper” between Pasek’s legs. Inside the paper officers discovered a “small amount of a pink powdery substance.”
Then there is the piece of this picture that has the country in an uproar- the little boy in the backseat. The child is now identified as Pasek’s son.
Thompson called for an ambulance and the emergency personnel. Once emergency services arrived they were able to administer the opiate overdose antidote, Narcan to both adults. After regaining consciousness Acord and Pasek were transported to East Liverpool Hospital.
Acord was eventually charged with
He plead no contest and was sentenced to 180 days in jail for two of those charges, but the stopping in a roadway charge was dropped. He will also have a 3 year suspension on his license and a $475 fine.
Pasek was charged with:
- Endangering children
- Public intoxication
- Not wearing a seatbelt
She plead not guilty and is held on $150,000 bond until her next court date, which is next Thursday.
At this time the 4 year old child is with Columbiana County Children’s Services.
This picture is not pretty to look at. It brings an ache to my chest and a sting to my eyes. I could cry for this child, and for his family. For the millions of people out there today with family who are doing the same thing to themselves and their children. The driver could have killed them all in a freak accident. Now… imagine the horror if he would have nodded out at the wheel and struck that school bus as it let kids off! How many more children could have been hurt?
What We Need to See
Some are outraged at the lack of privacy for the family. Many have insisted it is wrong to punish the two adults AND the child with a life haunted by this photo. I get it, and I’m an advocate for compassion instead of stigma and exploitation. It is truly troubling to know how harshly people will be judged by the images of them found online. Yet, I think things like this are what we need to see sometimes. It is a fine line to walk, but in the end there is a reality to the image that only something so intimate could convey- this is what we need to see.
What we need to see is how this epidemic is destroying the thing that most of us hold sacred- our families. While many people are upset about the images, I understand the local officials motives. The Facebook post confronts this controversy head-on:
“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,”
We the addicts need to see this the dark and brutal truth. The sad and comatose body of an addicted mother dying only a few inches away from her child who is barely old enough to walk and talk on his own! We all need to see the truth of this disease. It is killing us, and it is putting everyone around us at risk- especially the ones we love most. We need to see the children and the communities we are hurting. This is the face of addiction as we often refuse to acknowledge it.
Addiction is killing our families every day. But there is help. Real recovery begins with a real foundation for a better future. We would like to offer you the FREE GIFT of a checklist to help decipher if you are helping or hurting a loved one who is struggling with addiction.
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If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call now. You are not alone.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
When a family member or loved one decides to go to rehab, it can feel like a huge weight off your shoulders. Whether you help them find treatment, put together an intervention, or they just decide this step is an accomplishment. When a family member or loved one is sick, we all suffer. So when they are healing, doesn’t it make sense that you work to heal too?
Whether you know it now or not, you need help too. When a family member goes to rehab, you should definitely consider how to support them. You should also know how to take better care of yourself. Remember this is not just about them. These are 5 ways to get help when a family member goes to rehab.
Consult a doctor
Consulting with a medical professional about the health aspect of addiction and recovery is very important to helping in the recovery process. If you don’t have a personal family physician it can seem difficult. Try to find a medical professional you feel confident in consulting about the issue.
If you have a family physician be honest and open with discussing the specific drugs that your loved one most frequently abused. Find out if there are serious complications. Find out the warning signs of other health concerns. In general, being aware makes it easier to empathize with a family member and their recovery.
Look into aftercare
When a family member goes to rehab consider looking into aftercare options available to them, either in your area or where ever they are. Once they have completed inpatient treatment, you may want to help them chose an outpatient and other alternative care programs. Aftercare will help keep your family member on a consistent recovery plan during the transition back into the world.
Sometimes an aftercare plan should consist of a sober living facility- halfway house– for your family member. This is beneficial because they are monitored in a recovery community to support their long-term sobriety. They also get help finding support groups and continued therapy.
So how does this help you? Well it may just be as simple as giving you some peace of mind that they will have a safe and controlled environment after rehab. An effective aftercare plan can also help you establish boundaries.
Attend support groups
12 Step groups such as AA and NA are great, and they even have affiliate programs to support people with an addicted family member. Those with friends or loved ones who struggle through terrifying and trying times also have a safe place to fellowship and share.
Some support groups have their own separate 12 Step program of recovery tailored to the family’s recovery. Being able to connect and share experience with other families who can relate in an intimate way to the same fight you are fighting can be an uplifting and gratifying experience. This helps out a lot of family members and friends too when their loved ones are having a hard time staying clean.
Personal or family therapy
Therapy is a powerful tool for anyone. Finding a clinical professional to confide in and work with can be life changing. Therapy isn’t just for people with trauma or mental health, it exists for everyone. Personal therapy can help you better understand the moods you yourself experience, and the contributions that you yourself make to your family member’s recovery.
Family therapy can be very positive for rebuilding these vital relationships. Even if the addict or alcoholic is still in treatment, the rest of the family can attend therapy to address important issues before the loved one comes home. This kind of help can only bring more emotional stability and acceptance.
Attend a family program
Most holistic rehabs offer the opportunity to take part in the recovery of a loved one through a family program. This will put you in direct contact with the care professionals and clinical teams who are working with your family member to develop a plan of recovery.
Family programs can also give your family member or loved one the much needed inspiration to know that they are not alone in this process. It will allow you to participate in events, educational courses, and contribute to the blue print for new patterns in their future.
Getting help isn’t just for the one who is using drugs or drinking. We all need a little help sometimes. Every one of us needs a little support to get through sometimes.
We would like to offer you the FREE GIFT of a checklist to help decipher if you are helping or hurting a loved one who is struggling with addiction.
Click for FREE GIFT
Having a family member who has suffered can be harder on you than you know. Too many people don’t know how to get the help they need for their loved ones, and too many of our loved ones suffer for too long because they are afraid of the affects that the ones they care about most will face.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Getting caught with drugs or having to go through drug treatment anywhere other than Florida truly scares me. Other countries don’t handle drug addiction lightly. In Russia, the treatment center does not handcuff addicts to their beds anymore. But detained together on bunks with no way out, they have no choice but to tolerate the sufferings of withdrawal, the first step in a harsh, forced approach to drug treatment that has gained extensive support in Russia.
It has been said that they are skirting the law. They lock people up but only by request of their families. Men lay shoulder to shoulder in a very small room filled with tall metal beds, each one of them in a personal world of despair. This is known as the quarantine room, which is where the men withdrawal and go through their detox. The treatment center is run by a secretive group called City without Drugs. The staff has said it usually takes about a year to fully rehabilitate them.
Once they are done withdrawing in the room, which they could be in as long as a month and only receive bread and water, they usually work a job, lift weights and cook. They continue on with this for a year. To put someone in shackles, it calms them emotionally and mentally, said Mr. Shipachev, a staff member at the center, as he summoned through photographs of men handcuffed to their beds or to each other. It’s actually the old-timers who calm the new guys, when a guy shouts out that he’s going to die, they all just laugh at him. They have all been there before and know it gets better. It would be way worse if he were alone, for now the best solution is to just go to sleep, stated Mr. Shipachev.
The principal of this type of treatment is to just stop taking drugs and rough it out. They mostly just want to keep them clean a certain period of time so that the system cleans itself out and if they behave then they send them home. Of course, most experts condemn this approach to the addiction recovery process. For me, just getting the drugs out of my system was never enough to keep me sober. Per Diederik Lohman who is a senior researcher at the monitoring group Human Rights Watch, what they present as drug treatment has absolutely no basis in evidence. Lohman took part in a recent study of narcotics use and treatment in Russia.
What Russia chooses to do for drug treatment has very little in common with international best practice standards based on research and is not likely to have any valuable effect on patients. Most people tend to agree with it due to the drug addiction epidemic occurring in Russia and just wanting drug addicts off of the streets. When it comes to drug addicts and the consequences with the law, Russia definitely has a lot more in common with the United States than any other country I’ve researched, so far. They give a great deal of jail time for drug offenses but still I didn’t see anything in regards to the death penalty; unlike a lot of the other countries. If you really want to get sober, you can do it ANYWHERE. It sure does help when you want to avoid the death penalty in China or being locked in a quarantine-like room in Russia. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.