When police officers found Erika Hurt, she was sitting in the driver’s seat of her car, still holding a syringe in her left hand.
Her mouth was open and her head was tilted back.
And her 10-month-old son was restrained in a car seat in the back, according to police.
The car was parked outside a Dollar General store in rural Indiana on Saturday afternoon when someone called 911 after noticing that the woman behind the wheel was unconscious.
Police in the town of Hope believe the 25-year-old mother had overdosed on heroin.
Matthew Tallent, the town marshal, said Hurt regained consciousness after she was given two doses of Narcan, which reverses opioid overdoses in emergency situations.
The incident in Hope, about 45 miles southeast of downtown Indianapolis, happened less than two months after authorities in Ohio stopped a car and found a man and a woman barely conscious in the front seats. The woman’s 4-year-old grandson sat in the back seat.
A disturbing photo of the scene — the driver with his head tilted back, the woman slumped across the passenger seat, and the boy staring at what’s in front of him — spread like wildfire.
So, too, has the photo of Hurt.
Hurt was arrested after she was released from a hospital. She is charged with possession of paraphernalia, neglect of a dependent and violation of her probation in another drug-related conviction.
Her mother, Jami Smith, told Fox affiliate WXIN thatHope officials never should have made her daughter’s overdose photo public.
Tallent, the town marshal, said he never intended to embarrass or shame Hurt. Instead, he said, he wanted the photo to serve as an “educational tool, because I want people to see what this drug is doing.”
But some experts in drug addiction and policing said releasing such images may not be an effective deterrent.
Patty McCarthy Metcalf of Faces & Voices of Recovery, a national advocacy group, told The Post’s Tom Jackmanthat “what helps is helping people get help. Helping people see they can recover. What doesn’t work is public shaming. It just reinforces the negative public perception we’re trying to eliminate. Stigma is one of the major reasons people don’t get help when they need it.”
Adam Brooks of the Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia told Jackman that “publishing photos of unconscious individuals regardless of the circumstance is an insensitive and demoralizing approach to teach anyone a ‘lesson.’
“People struggling with addiction are dealing with a serious, chronic health condition that can’t be curbed through shaming. Would we post a photo of someone suffering a diabetic coma because they didn’t take their medication? Absolutely not.”
Hurt had recently gone through rehab before her overdose in Hope, her mother told WXIN.
“Heroin is the devil,” Smith said.
The toddler is now in the custody of his grandmother, according to Tallent, the Hope marshal.
“It’s a sad reality that she did this — and put her son in danger on top of that,” he said.
So the mother is upset because they made her daughter look bad? Bitch please. Your grandchild could be dead right now if it weren’t for officers and your daughter would be too. She’s the ONLY one responsible for this event. But mom is an enabler. You want your daughter clean? Then bring shame to the situation. She’s so busy trying to hide it. Nonononono, every body should see this. It’s embarrassing? Oh well. Keep the needle out your arm.