A graphic video posted online shows an Ohio man overdosing, inadvertently highlighting the scourge of heroin abuse in some American communities.
Sean Abernathy, of Cincinnati, captured the incident in a parking lot on video.
Abernathy told Local12, “I’m standing right there where that garbage can is. They ride past me and dude is at the wheel. He do one of these [fakes nodding off]. That’s what made me pay attention to ya.”
He then captured the car slowing down and rolling to a stop. Just then, a woman got out of the vehicle and attempted to revive the driver, 42-year-old Robert Gibson. Abernathy added he knew that it was an overdose, as Cincinnati has been inundated with heroin for years.
“Wake up! Wake Up!” Abernathy was heard screaming in the clip.
In 2015, there were 55,403 lethal drug overdoses from opioids across the U.S., according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine. According to Independent Journal Review, overdoses overtook shootings as one of the highest causes of death in the country.
Another passerby, Candice Smith, called 911.
“It was a very scary situation. I was in tears. The man was blue in the face and looked dead and you have this woman running around and hollering and screaming. It started to draw a crowd. It was just….it’s just sad. Really sad,” said Smith, who added that seeing overdoses are the new normal.
Gibson, who was not charged, is being held by police on possessing illegal drug paraphernalia and telephone harassment—which date back more than a decade.
“What you’re seeing in the video is how addiction is really eating away at people, and how people are in denial of what’s going on,” Abernathy told WLWT.
He told local media outlets that by posting the video, he’s attempting to raise awareness of heroin’s grip on the region.
“I’m happy that I was there to stop that, because he was in the parking lot full of kids,” Abernathy added. “Even if I was doing drugs, it’s still a life.”