What does the opioid epidemic mean for the next generation?

CINCINNATI -- “This may be one traumatic event of many."

That was Dr. Latrice Montgomery’s reaction to the 4-year-old boy who watched as his mother tied off her arm and shot up heroin in an Over-the-Rhine alley Wednesday.

Lauren Story, 29, was arrested and charged Thursday morning with endangering her son as well as possession of drug abuse instruments and drug paraphernalia.

For Jon Donaldson, a longtime Over-the-Rhine resident who said he witnessed the incident Wednesday, it was among the most disturbing things he'd ever seen.


"(Story and her partner) were not paying attention to the boy at all, their focus was on their drugs … the boy was just sitting against the wall really behaving and watching his parents just put poison in their arms," he said.

MORE: Sister of heroin use suspect: 'I hope this is rock bottom'

Montgomery, a psychologist from the University of Cincinnati, works with kids whose parents have abused drugs.

She says this kind of behavior can take a toll on a child’s development.

Kids can think using drugs is “normal,” she said, if they watch their parents use drugs from a young age.

“The unfortunate thing is that what we see now is kind of a child witnessing you know this overdose … but it's all the things we don't see that aren't on camera is really what I'm a lot of concerned about,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery said young children who see their parents using drugs are likely to abuse drugs themselves.

“If you see your parents using drugs or if you see your parents yelling at each other or doing certain things, then you're more likely to kind of model that behavior,” she said.

Support from family members who aren’t on drugs can help steer children in the right direction, Montgomery said.

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