LAWRENCE — Dressed in purplish-pink "Frozen" footie pajamas, a toddler cries and pulls at her mother as the woman lies unconscious on the toy aisle floor.
We recognize the video that accompanies this story on our website will be disturbing to read…
She grabs her mother's hand, shakes her head, pulls her hair, frantically trying to get her to awaken.
Soon paramedics arrive and administer two doses of Narcan, a drug which reverses opiate and heroin overdoses.
A Lawrence police officer looking for identification finds drug paraphernalia in the diaper bag being carried by the 36-year-old Salem, N.H., woman, according to a report.
This Sunday-morning scene was captured on video by an onlooker at the Family Dollar store.
It's dramatic footage for the uninitiated, but for police, firefighters and paramedics such events have become routine as the region remains in the grips of an opioid and heroin epidemic .
"It's definitely common for children to act in this way, and we have seen this before," said Lawrence Police Capt. Roy Vasque, who leads the department's Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit.
He said there has been an increase in arrests of heroin users who bring their kids along to buy drugs.
"To put a child in such a situation shows how strong the addiction is," Vasque told The Eagle-Tribune previously.
The scourge has claimed many victims, "the saddest of all is the children we encounter quite often with this," said Methuen Police Capt. Randy Haggar on Tuesday. "And unfortunately it hits home hard because many of us have our own children. It breaks our heart to know what some of these children are witnessing."
Parents who are caught purchasing or using narcotics in the presence of their children or other children can be charged with child endangerment. As of press time, the woman in the video and photo has not been charged with any crime.
In the case of an overdose, when a child is present, police are required by law to immediately alert the state's Department of Children and Families. This is standard protocol for officers when they find a child in danger under any circumstances involving neglect, endangerment or crime.
Family Dollar store clerk Nicaurys Anziani said the mother and daughter only had been in the store a short time when the woman fell down at 10:24 Sunday morning.
Anziani said another shopper alerted her and asked for help when the woman "was on the floor."
The little girl "was just crying and crying and crying," she said.
Anziani called 911 and said the store manager took video for "protection."
According to the responding police officer's report, when he checked the woman's diaper bag for identification he found "straws cut to three inches long" with "white powdery residue around the tips of them."
After being revived with Narcan, the woman denied she had overdosed and "said she was just tired and dozed off," according to the report.
Paramedics told her they suspected she overdosed. The officer told the woman he found the drug straws in her diaper bag.
"She kept saying, 'No, no,'" said Anziani, the store clerk who herself is a mother of two. "She did not want to go to the hospital."
Both mother and daughter were taken to Lawrence General Hospital by ambulance.
A clerk at Family Dollar for 9 months, Anziani said she had never seen something like this happen before in the store.
She said she feels "terrible" for the little girl.
The police officer on Sunday told the woman that he would be filing paperwork with DCF.
Vasque has said that addicts are commonly warned that their children are in peril.
"We certainly point that out to them," he said. "We'll say, 'Do you understand the danger you are putting your child in?"
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.