Drugs Victimize Children, Too

One of the most disturbing photographs we have seen during recent years may have a happy ending, Ohio Valley residents learned just before Christmas.

You may remember the picture, which was circulated nationally. It was of a 4-year-old boy, strapped in a car seat in the back seat of an SUV in East Liverpool.         In the front seat were two unconscious adults, a man and a woman, the child’s grandmother. They had overdosed on heroin. Paramedics had to use an opiate antidote to revive them.

After he was born, the boy was placed with his great-grandparents because his mother and father were deemed unfit due to histories of drug abuse and other offenses. Two years later, his grandmother petitioned a court for custody and got it. The judge has said that, had he known about her drug abuse, he would never have placed the child with her.

Things changed for the boy just before Christmas. A court granted permanent custody of him to his great-aunt and great-uncle, who live in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Having visited with them earlier in life, the child reportedly is comfortable with them. Given his history, it is a safe bet authorities investigated his new family thoroughly.

So this one may have that happy ending the little boy so richly deserves.

East Liverpool police released the photograph and many in the press published it for a good reason: At a glance, it makes the effect of drug abuse on entirely innocent, helpless victims clear.

There are thousands of them, many in our area. Police and child welfare authorities take them out of drug abusers’ homes on a regular basis. They understand how easy it would be for children to come to harm in such environments.

This time, the child escaped unharmed, at least physically.

This time …

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