Boy photographed in car with 'overdosed' parents gets new home
A four-year-old Ohio boy pictured in police photos in the back seat of a car while his grandmother and her boyfriend were slumped over from a suspected drug overdose is moving in with other relatives.
Columbiana County Juvenile Court administrator Dane Walton told The Associated Press that the boy's great uncle and great aunt in South Carolina petitioned the court for custody, which was granted on Monday by a judge.
The shocking images of the couple were posted on Facebook by US police to highlight the growing heroin and opioid epidemic in the US.
Rhonda Pasek, 50, and James Acord, 47, were charged with endangering children after being found by police last week in the city of East Liverpool.
Pasek was apparently granted custody of the boy just six weeks ago. Mr Walton said the judge's report showed that at the time there was "no evidence brought forward" of any drug issues with Pasek.
In the incident, an officer approached Acord's car after seeing it weaving erratically back and forth before drifting to a stop in the road.
The police said they had decided to make the images public "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," the police statement on Facebook said.
"We are well aware that some may be offended by these images and for that we are truly sorry, but it is time that the non drug using public sees what we are now dealing with on a daily basis.
"The poison known as heroin has taken a strong grip on many communities not just ours, the difference is we are willing to fight this problem until it's gone and if that means we offend a few people along the way we are prepared to deal with that."
According to a police report posted along with the pictures, officer Kevin Thompson wrote that Acord, whose head was "bobbing back and forth", his speech almost unintelligible, told him he was taking Pasek to the hospital and attempted to drive away before falling completely unconscious.
Pasek was also unconscious and turning blue, the officer wrote. Both were revived by emergency medical technicians using several rounds of a drug used to reverse an opiate overdose, according to Thompson's report.
The officer said that a folded up piece of paper found between Pasek's legs contained a small amount of a pink, powdery substance.
Heroin and opioid addiction kills 23 people each week in Ohio and there are an average of eight overdoses a day.
The country is experiencing a devastating heroin and opioid epidemic as a result of the huge increase in prescriptions of opioid painkillers such as hydrocodone and oxycodone in the past decade.