Unsettling footage of an 18-year-old mother convulsing on a porch, high on drugs while her toddler cries has led to the woman’s arrest.
The shaky camerawork shows Lauren Brooke Englett rolling around and twitching, unresponsive to the child’s cries. A man can also be seen, high on drugs, slumping over after he hands the toddler a bottle.
The Alabama Mobile County Sheriff’s Office said the department got a wave of calls and emails from people who had seen the video on Facebook and were concerned for the mother and the safety of the child, as reported by AL.com
Lori Myles, public affairs officer for the Sherriff’s Office, said tips came from as far away as Birmingham, England as the video went viral in just over a week.
The video led to the arrest of Ms Englett who has been charged with one count of third-degree domestic violence, reckless endangerment. She was released on bond and hounded by reporters as she left the Sherriff's Office.
The child was placed in the care of the maternal grandmother, but once it was discovered Ms Englett also lived with the grandmother, the child was removed from the house by authorities and placed in official custody on 27 February.
“The mother admitted (to) being on spice to us,” Ms Myles told AL.com.
“Spice” is a common name for dried plant material sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids, resulting in a mix of chemicals, and can result in severe illness and death. Overdosing can commonly cause muscle spasms, severe agitation, tremors and hallucinations.
First reported in the US in 2008, there are now more than 50 types of the synthetic marijuana in the country. Alabama designated it the most dangerous "Schedule 1" drug in October 2011 to combat the growing number of abusers.
Yet in just 13 days to 9 April last year, in another area of Alabama, Tuscaloosa hospitals reported 24 Spice overdoses, including one death, while across the state in Fairfield, there were four suspected overdoses within six hours in one day, prompting leading police chief Steve Anderson to call the drug abuse a “public health crisis and a public safety crisis”, as reported by the Washington Post.
Police are searching for the suspected camerawoman, Rachel Rikard, 19, and Jamie Jemison, 25. Both are wanted on charges of reckless endangerment.
“There are several things wrong with this,” Ms Myles said. “Including that the person taking the video didn't notify authorities of a child in danger.”