Recovering drug addict Erika P. Hurt, 25, was found unconscious in the driver’s seat of a car parked outside a dollar store in Hope, Indiana
She had overdosed on heroin with her 10-month-old baby crying in backseat
After revival and treatment at a local hospital, Hurt was booked on charges of child neglect and possession of drug paraphernalia
Marshal warns: “This [child neglect] is becoming a new norm for drug users.”
The needle was still in her hand when cops found her
Long time drug user Erika Hurt was unconscious from an overdose Saturday, sprawled behind the steering wheel of her car, head tilted back, sunglasses over ponytailed blonde curls and the hypodermic needlee still in hand, while hHer 10-month old son was left crying in the back seat.
Commenting on the rising trend of drug user parents overdosing at the expense of their infants and toddlers, exasparated town marshall, Matthew Tallent, said the baby represented the face of the most helpless victims of Indiana’s drug crisis.
“Parents are doing this more often with children in the car because they are doing it away from someone who is going to disapprove,” said Matthew Tallent. “This is becoming a new norm for drug users.”
In an now all too familiar scene, a police officer responding to an afternoon call Saturday, found Erika Hurt, unconscious in the driver’s seat of a car parked at the Dollar General in Hope, a small town located about 45 miles southeast of Indianapolis.
With his body camera rolling, officer Skylar Hollin approached the vehicle and opened the driver’s door. His camera captured a scene reminiscent of September’s infamous case, in East Liverpool, Ohio when cops found a grandmother and her friend overdosed on heroin in a car with her 4-year-old grandson in the back seat.
According to preliminary state data, in 2014, Indiana recorded 452 deaths of drug overdoses involving opioids in 2014, a number that increased to 595 in 2015. Further analysis of this data shows that many of the users first get hooked on prescription opiate pain killers, such as hydrocodone and codeine, before switching to heroin, often cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription drugs.
It’s not clear what led to Saturday’s overdose by Hurt who had just been released from a drug rehab facility on Oct. 4, according to her mother. Records show that Hurt has a drug use history. In 2014, she was sentenced to six months probation for drug possession by a Marion County court after the initial felony charge was reduced to a misdemeanor. Her other priors include misdemeanor offenses of conversion and trespassing.
Noting the the upswing of Tallent, the marshal, said heroin use has been on the upswing and he wants the community to pay attention.
“We’re finding a lot of needles right now,” Tallent said, noting that this was the second time someone overdosed in Hope. Both victims were revived with the life-saving drug naloxone.
In the case of Erika Hurt, medics used two doses of naloxone to revive Hurt at Columbus Regional Hospital, according to a police reports. Severe incidents like hers while still relatively rare, are are happening more often.
“If I’m able to score in the parking lot I’ll probably use in the parking lot,” Scott Watson said, noting an addict’s behavior makes no sense to people without addictions.
An addiction expert Scott Watson, explaining addiction behavior said “If I’m able to score in the parking lot I’ll probably use in the parking lot,” noting an addict’s behavior makes no sense to people without addictions.
When addicted, access to the drug is all that matters, addicts are so desperate to get high that they don’t consider who is around them or who they may be hurting.
“It’s not that they don’t love their kid,” Watson said. “The need to get high is so strong that it overrides the love we have for our parents, the love we have for our kids and the love we have for ourselves.”
Hurt was booked on charges of child neglect and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to the police report. She was held Tuesday in the Bartholomew County Jail. Her son is in the custody of her mother who came to the dollar store parking lot, minutes after police to pick up her grandson.