BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – Drug overdoses are on the rise and a photograph of the problem is catching a lot of attention.
It comes from Kent, where a police officer caught someone using drugs in a gas station restroom. The investigation showed there was blood left on a baby changing station, as well as drug residue.
Public restrooms are becoming common locations for using drugs. Users are opening baby changing stations to shoot up drugs.
“A lot of these people buy this stuff from a house or wherever they get it and stop immediately because they gotta get this stuff in them. The first stop is a rest stop or go in a bathroom. Shoot up, snort it, whatever and if they overdose, it’s quick because the stuff is strong,” said paramedic Miles Eston.
Fentanyl is a powerful painkiller 50 times stronger than heroin. It can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled if it becomes airborne. A speck the size of a few grains of salt can potentially be deadly.
“Certainly chewing, putting things in their mouth would be a big concern,” Eston said. “It doesn’t take much, especially with the new stuff that’s out there that’s real strong.”
Police and first responders have been warned not to touch drugs they suspect contain it. For parents unaware drugs could be on a changing station, it could be a big danger.
“I might just go home to change him because I can’t risk the safety of my children,” said Jessica Cessna, a mother of young children. “It’s just not worth it to be out in public and worry about that kind of thing.”
Baby changing stations were installed as conveniences to parents in public restrooms so they wouldn’t have to use the countertop. First, they were put in women’s rooms and then in men’s rooms.
“We don’t use one because they seem dirty,” Nicole Hoff said. “They’re in the bathroom, I don’t know how often they get cleaned. Sometimes there’s leftover things on them. We prefer to use the back of the car.”
Alex Hardin agreed the changing stations always need to be cleaned, saying you never know who was there before or who cleaned it last. He said the possibility of drug residue being there just adds to his unease.
“Very concerning, and I think it’s up to the venues or the owners of those restrooms to make sure those are clean for the safety of little ones for that reason alone.”