Heroin Tragedy in Akron, Ohio
On Sept. 7 2016, in East Liverpool, Ohio and Akron, Ohio a man and woman were seen incapacitated in a moving vehicle, due to a Heroin overdose. The two were reported to the local city police department, which responded soon after. Liverpool first responder, officer Kevin Thompson followed the Ford Explorer, traveling south bound on 1 St. Clair Avenue reporting that the driver of the vehicle was unable to drive safely.
The SUV was traveling behind a city school bus, which, heightened concern, the officer approached the vehicle after it suddenly skidded to a stop. Thompson immediately noticed the driver, James Acord was unable to gain control his head movements. Acord was also very difficult to understand when speaking and had tiny pinned pupils.
When the officer asked what was going on, Acord said he was transporting the female passenger, Rhonda Pasek, to the local hospital. Acord was unable to remain able and conscious for very long, and the officer had to reach through the driver window to get the keys and turn off the vehicle’s ignition.
The Many Victims of Addiction
Witnessing Acord lose consciousness, the officer noticed Pasek’s overall condition. Pasek was completely unconscious and beginning to turn blue. Thompson then discovered a 4-year-old boy in the back seat. The boy was in a car seat located directly behind the front passenger seat, where Pasek was unconscious.
Lifeteam EMS responded to the scene and utilized multiple doses of Narcan, before the Opiate overdose was able to be reversed. When Acord and Pasek regained consciousness, they were taken to the local hospital for safety measures and further evaluation. The officer also discovered a pink colored powder substance in the front passenger seat.
The boy was later found to be the grandson of Rhonda Pasek. Six weeks prior to the incident, Pasek was granted custody of the child. Child services of Columbiana County were contacted and able to get the boy into a safe and new home.
The boy will now be living in South Carolina with his great-uncle and great-aunt. Meanwhile, Acord and Pasek, were booked into Columbiana County Jail and are facing charges.
Posting Photos to Educate, not Humiliate
The police report and pictures posted of this incident were not in an attempt to humiliate, the driver, Acord or the passenger, Pasek. Rather, publicly posting the incident with unsettling photos of the two adults overdosed on Heroin, was to bring to light the degree of tragedy, this epidemic is causing.
Thompson stated feelings of sadness for those afflicted by addiction and hopes that the post going viral will help combat the epidemic and gain society’s attention of its seriousness. The police incident report, along with photographs of the scene were posted to the City of East Liverpool, Ohio Facebook page on Sept. 8.
Releasing this incident to the public, was carefully considered. The city administration and the police department worked in partnership with the law director to come to a decision of whether to share this publicly or not.
The consensus on the decision was to publicize the incident and educate people about the dangers of the situation. Ohio hopes that the publicity will help build strength within the communities for support in fighting against Heroin use, overdose and the disease of addiction.