HOPE, Ind. — Authorities in Hope, Indiana released pictures of a woman found overdosed behind the wheel to raise awareness about the heroin epidemic and show that it’s impacting the entire state.
Police say they found Erika Hurt, 25, unresponsive behind the wheel of her car on Saturday afternoon in the Dollar General parking lot.
Town Marshal Matthew Tallent says Hurt had a syringe in her hand, and her 10-month-old son was crying in the back seat.
Officers revived Hurt with Narcan and she was taken to the hospital. She was later arrested on charges of child neglect and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Child welfare officials were called to the scene and the baby was turned over to Hurt's mother.
Tallant says the department made the decision to release the photos of Hurt passed out behind the wheel to make people aware that the heroin epidemic isn’t just a big city problem—it’s leaking into small towns like Hope.
“My intention with these photos is not to shame the mother, although I realize it may appear embarrassing. I honestly think this picture should be used as an educational tool because I want people to see what this drug is doing,” Tallant said.
Hurt's mother feels no one should have ever seen this picture and police should've kept it as evidence.
"This was a mistake. I do not condone it. 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," explains Jami Smith, Hurt's mother.
Smith shared that her daughter had been clean for two years and had just gotten out of rehab earlier this month.
This is the second overdose Hope authorities have responded to this year. However, many cities across the state have been tirelessly battling the problem for months.
In just one weekend, authorities responded to over two dozen overdose calls in Bartholomew County and Delaware County.
The heroin epidemic is so problematic in Morgan County that the coroner has run out of money for autopsies.
Earlier this month, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office added an additional $400,000 grant to equip first responders with Naloxone.
“Naloxone is only one small piece of this unfortunate epidemic. We lose 129 people nationwide every day to the epidemic,” said Justin Phillips of Overdose Lifeline.