Drugs, Blood Found On Baby Changing Station In Ohio Public Bathroom

By Britni de la Cretaz 04/05/17

Kent police issued a warning on Facebook after finding drug paraphernalia and a suspected lethal drug in a gas station bathroom. 

A row of sinks and a baby changing station inside a public restroom.

The trend of police departments getting on social media to educate the public about the dangers of drug use continues. In Ohio, the Kent Police Department posted images to its Facebook page from a public restroom, warning folks about the dangers that could be lurking as a result of someone’s illicit drug use.

The photos show a baby changing station in a public bathroom, which allegedly contained traces of a suspected drug, as well as a small amount of blood smeared on the side. “Officer Smith caught the suspect in the act of administering suspected heroin and/or Fentanyl in the restroom stall,” the post reads. “More concerning was the blood and suspected lethal drug left on the baby changing station. These drugs can be absorbed through the skin, and easily be fatal.”

According to the police report, “there was an uncapped needle, spoon with a cotton ball, and two bindles on the baby station,” one of which contained a white powder. The post goes on to warn that “gas stations and other public restrooms are very common locations for drug transactions, and for administering drugs.” They urge parents to “be very mindful of this for your safety and your kids.”

Last fall, another Ohio police department was mired in controversy after posting graphic images of a couple who had overdosed in their car while a child was in the back seat. “We feel it 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,” police in East Liverpool wrote at the time. “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 … 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.”

But the reaction to the graphic overdose photos was one of not just offense, but outrage. Many people argued that shaming people who are in the grips of addiction is not the answer, and never has been. Not only that, some feared for the child who did not consent to having his face released in the photos during a traumatic incident.

Social media is a powerful way of communicating with the public, and of reaching large numbers of people. But with that kind of platform comes a responsibility to ensure that the education and message being sent is one that helps and doesn’t shame.

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Britni de la Cretaz is a freelance writer, baseball enthusiast, and recovered alcoholic living in Boston. Follow her on Twitter at @britnidlc.