A man injects himself with heroin using a needle obtained from the People’s Harm Reduction Alliance, the nation’s largest needle-exchange program, in Seattle, Washington April 30, 2015. The People’s Harm Reduction Alliance launched its free meth pipe program, which is pioneering but illegal, in March after learning from its own survey that 80 percent of area meth users would be less likely to inject drugs if given access to pipes. The theory behind the Alliance’s handout program is that giving meth pipes to drug users may steer some away from needles, which are far riskier than smoking, especially if the user is sharing with another person infected with HIV or hepatitis C. There is little scientific evidence to support that claim, but the Alliance, a privately funded needle-swap group run by drug users, said it has distributed more than 1,000 pipes in Seattle in a matter of weeks and could expand to other cities in Washington state and Oregon. Opponents say giving away meth pipes discourages quitting while wasting resources on an untested scheme that will not solve a city-wide health problem. Picture taken April 30, 2015. REUTERS/David Ryder
Police arrested two parents who nearly caused a traffic wreck after they shot up heroin behind the wheel while driving their 3-year-old Saturday in Cincinnati.
Derrick Stewart, 26, and Rikki Asher, 25, were arraigned Monday and face charges of endangering children. Asher admitted to police she shot up heroin while she was driving and ran a red light, nearly causing a crash. Stewart, who confessed to purchasing the drugs, also admitted to using the heroin while inside the car in the presence of the 3-year-old child, reports Cincinnati.com.
Police found a used and unused hypodermic needle during a search of the car. The pair, who live in Kentucky, are being held on $25,000 bond and the unidentified 3-year-old is now in the custody of Hamilton County Job and Family Services.
Children across the country are increasingly suffering from similar circumstances due to the widespread abuse of opioids throughout the country. A 10-year-old boy and his 4-year-old sister found their mother and grandmother unresponsive on the floor of the living room in their home June 22 in Pittsburgh due to heroin overdoses.
The boy ran across the street to call 9-11 after he could not wake them up. Police arrested 32-year-old Kristin Garrett and 72-year-old Janet Garrett on charges of of endangering the welfare of children. It took three injections of the overdose reversal drug Narcan from first responders to pull the pair back to consciousness.
“Those poor babies,” Nicole Myers, a neighbor, told PIX 11 News. “It’s a shame and how are those babies going to grow up when they don’t have anybody to look up to?”
Officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services say skyrocketing drug abuse rates are causing a significant increase in the number of children being pushed into foster care. A staggering 85,937 children entered foster care due to parental drug use in the U.S. in 2015, according to data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System.
Ohio is being hit particularly hard by the national opioid epidemic, which claimed a record 33,000 lives in the U.S. in 2015. The opioid death rate in the state spiked 13 percent between 2014 and 2015, among the largest increases in the country. Heroin deaths increased by nearly 20 percent over the same period, claiming 1,444 lives.
Officials in Ohio say opioids are also the main driver of a 19 percent spike in the number of kids removed from parental custody to foster care since 2010.
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