Shocking images of an Ohio couple overdosed with a four-year-old in the backseat went viral after Ohio police shared it on their Facebook page. Police wrote on the post that the couple overdosed on heroin.
"It's very sad when you have a child that has no control over the situation whatsoever," said Chief of Narcotics for the Erie County Sheriff's Office, Alan Rozansky.
Ohio police said one of the reasons they posted the images was to raise awareness of the drug problem the state faces. Rozansky says locally, the photos may not do much to stop the epidemic.
"It affects everybody emotionally but that heroin addict that's out there, their only desire is to get heroin and shoot it up," said Rozansky. "The only thing they worry about is their next fix. The child is secondary."
Secondary, and not always able to call for help, like in this case. Ohio police wrote they "feel the need to be a voice for the children caught up in this horrible mess".
"I've personally never seen anything to that magnitude, but we've had children in situations similar to that," said Kimberly Kadziolka, Director of Residential Treatment for Child and Family Services of Erie County. "Anytime you have a child in a situation of neglect like that, it can be very traumatizing to that child."
Ohio police also wrote that this is their way of fighting the heroin epidemic that has taken it's toll on communities from coast to coast. A problem Rozansky says has increased in Erie County each year.
"I've never seen heroin, the use, as it is today," said Rozansky. "I mean, I was here working narcotics in the 70's and heroin was a problem, but nowhere near what it is today. It's off the hook... it's epidemic stages."
While Rozansky says the problem is an epidemic, Avi Israel, who's son committed suicide in 2011 after becoming addicted to painkillers, says at least people are talking more about it now.
"Five years ago, my son passed away, you wouldn't even get anyone to write about it," said Israel. "We're talking about it a lot more. We need to talk about it everyday. We are losing people at the rate of somewhere around 9 people per week."
If you see a child in a similar situation, you can reach out to Western New York's Child & Family Services here. They provide different services that can help both the kids and adults.