Police Release Jarring Photos Of Overdosed Duo

Woman's son, 4, was seated in rear of SUV

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Ohio Overdose

SEPTEMBER 9--In an effort to highlight the heroin epidemic gripping the country, an Ohio police department has released photos showing an overdosed couple sitting in a vehicle while the unconscious passenger’s four-year-old son looked on from the back seat.

According to a police report, a cop Wednesday afternoon spotted a Ford Explorer “weaving back and forth” across the roadway in East Liverpool, a city bordering Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

When the officer subsequently approached the SUV--which had drifted to a stop--he noted that driver James Acord’s head was “bobbing back and forth” and his “speech was almost unintelligible.”

Acord, 47, said that he was transporting his front seat passenger, Rhonda Pasek, to the hospital, reported Officer Kevin Thompson, who added that the 50-year-old Pasek was “completely unconscious and turning blue.” Pasek’s son was in a car seat behind his mother, who was slumped over.

Acord himself “eventually went completely unconscious,” noted Thompson, who sought to “keep [Pasek’s] airway open” until rescue workers arrived. EMS workers subsequently treated Acord and Pasek with “several rounds” of the drug Narcan, which “is commonly used to reverse an opiate overdose.”

The couple regained consciousness and were transported to a local hospital for further treatment. A search of the vehicle turned up a folded piece of paper containing a “pink powdery substance” that was sent to a crime lab for analysis.

Acord, charged with child endangerment and driving under the influence, yesterday pleaded guilty to both counts and was sentenced to a year in jail. Pasek, who is locked up in the Columbiana County jail, is facing child endangerment and disorderly conduct/intoxication charges. Court records list separate addresses in New Cumberland, West Virginia for Acord and Pasek.

Pasek’s son, who was wearing a dinosaur shirt, was placed in the custody of child welfare officials.

In a statement, East Liverpool officials said that the release of the overdose photos was “necessary to show the other side of this horrible drug. We feel we need to be a voice for the children caught up in this horrible mess. This child can't speak for himself but we are hopeful his story can convince another user to think twice about injecting this poison while having a child in their custody.” (2 pages)