This picture of a mother overdosing whereas her child’s within the backseat saved her life


What you may’t see within the picture is the again seat, the place her toddler son sat crying.

That was a 12 months in the past this month — however for Erika Damage, it’d as effectively be a lifetime.

The 26-year-old Indiana girl says she has been clear since that day, doting on her son and dealing a full-time job.

And the picture, which at first was a supply of anger and humiliation, illustrates the slippery line between sobriety and despair.

“I used to be sober. I ended going to conferences. I forgot about how dangerous the habit obtained,” Hunt advised CNN about that interval in her life final 12 months. “This picture helped me look again. It is a fixed reminder that sobriety must be labored at.”

Hunt today with her son.

The day the picture was shot

The day the was taken, Damage had parked within the lot of a greenback retailer in Hope, Indiana, to shoot up heroin. She had gotten out of a month-long stint in rehab simply two weeks earlier. Her 10-month-old son was within the again seat.

She rationalized his presence the identical manner lots of addicts do whereas utilizing in entrance their youngsters, she stated: They’re asleep. Or they’re too younger to comprehend what is going on on.

The very last thing Damage remembers from that day is pulling into the parking zone. She later realized a buyer discovered her slumped over within the automobile and referred to as 911.

It took officers two doses of Narcan, the drug used to reverse an overdose in an emergency scenario, to revive her.

“Had this girl not handed out from this and tried to drive proper afterward, she might have (pushed) down the street, handed out two minutes later and hit a automobile with a household in it, killed each certainly one of them,” Hope City Marshal Matthew Tallent advised CNN on the time. “That is the factor that is so stunning to me to consider.”

Police found Hunt clutching a syringe that day.

What occurred subsequent

After a quick hospital keep got here jail. Hunt had violated her probation from a earlier cost in 2014.

Whereas she was ready for her sentencing date, a neighborhood reporter requested an interview. Then one other requested, and one other.

She did not suppose a lot of it on the time. She came upon why when she was watching the night information.

A police officer had snapped a photograph of her handed out within the automobile. It quickly went viral.

“I felt very humiliated, I felt very indignant,” she stated. “You realize, it was arduous for me to really imagine that it was me.”

Damage’s story matches right into a grim sample, as badysis exhibits heroin use is on the rise within the US. The latest United Nations’ World Drug Report discovered that 914,000 folks aged 12 years or older reported utilizing heroin in 2014 — a 145% enhance since 2007.

The place she is now

Hunt has been preventing habit all her life, she says.

“I had been an addict since I used to be 15 years outdated,” she stated. “It wasn’t till I used to be 21 that I started searching for badist — and I used to be failing at it. ”

The overdose, captured within the picture, led to Hunt getting clear.

She was sentenced to 6 months of intense rehab in a locked-down facility — one which centered on the underlying problems with habit and the way to deal with them.

She’s a part of WRAP (Girls Recovering with a Function), a program that requires continued conferences with a therapist, a sobriety coach and a number of “self care” lessons equivalent to Narcotics Nameless each week.

Now, she works greater than 40 hours every week at a neighborhood manufacturing facility. She additionally cares for her son, however her mother has guardianship.

At this level, her focus is on staying the course.

“In case you are sober and wholesome,” she stated, “then you may deal with everyone else.”

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