Police in Hope, In., 45 miles southeast of Indianapolis, found the woman unconscious from an overdose Saturday. She was sprawled behind the steering wheel of her car, head tilted back, needle still in hand, her 10-month old son crying in the back seat, the Indianapolis Star reports. The child, the local town marshal said, is the face of the most helpless victims of Indiana’s drug crisis. “Parents are doing this more often with children in the car because they are doing it away from someone who is going to disapprove,” said marshal Matthew Tallent. “This is becoming a new norm for drug users.” He said heroin use has been on the upswing and he wants the community to pay attention. “We’re finding a lot of needles right now,” Tallent said.
The incident is reminiscent of what police came across last month in East Liverpool, Oh.: a grandmother and her friend overdosed on heroin in a car with her 4-year-old grandson in the back seat. Photos posted to Facebook became widely circulated. Both incidents serve as reminders of how pervasive and disturbing the problem of heroin abuse is in Indiana and across the region. It’s been described as an epidemic by politicians and public health officials here. Some 452 Hoosiers died of drug overdoses involving opioids in 2014. That number jumped to 595 last year.