HOPE, Ind. – Police in Indiana have shared a “graphic” photo taken Saturday of a 25-year-old woman found passed out in her car from a heroin overdose while her baby was in the back seat.
Hope Police Department posted the photo of Erika Hurt, sitting unresponsive behind the wheel of the vehicle with a syringe in her hand, in an effort to expose the state’s growing drug epidemic.
“My intention with these photos is not to shame the mother, although I realize it may appear embarrassing,” Town Marshall Matthew Tallent told WTTV. “I honestly think this picture should be used as an educational tool because I want people to see what this drug is doing.”
According to local reports, state authorities have responded to dozens of heroin overdoses in recent weeks.
Despite Tallent’s intent to reveal a drug problem that he says is paralyzing the state, Hurt’s family was angered to discover the photo had been released.
“This was a mistake. I do not condone it,” Jami Smith, Hurt’s mother explained to WTTV, adding that she believed the photo should have been retained as evidence.
The disturbing image was made even more alarming by the presence of her crying 10-month-old son.
“It is a sad reality that she parks in a public parking lot with her child in the back seat and shoots up,” said Tallent.
“I don’t know why or what in her mind made her think that would be an OK decision because it was not OK,” added Smith.
According to Smith, her daughter had finished rehab earlier this month.
“Trust me there is nobody that was more angry than me and once she was back up on her feet, before she even went to the hospital, she knew how I angry I was,” she said.
Hurt was revived with Narcan and taken to the hospital, where she was arrested on charges of child neglect and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Tallent says child welfare officials were called to the scene and the baby was turned over to Smith.
Tallent says Hurt remains in custody on a probation violation. He didn’t know if she had a lawyer.
— With files from The Associated Press.