When police found 25-year-old Erika Hurt passed out in her car in the parking lot of an Indiana Dollar General Store, needle in her hand, with her 10-month-old son in the backseat, they snapped a photo that went viral as the face of the opioid crisis in America. One year after the photo was taken, Hurt tells NBC News that despite being "so hurt and embarrassed" police would make the photo public, "it was kind of a really big eye opener to see myself like that." Hurt celebrated a year of sobriety last Sunday, posting the photo of "the absolute worst moment of my life" on Facebook to show "exactly what heroin addiction is" and to never "forget where the road of addiction has taken me."
Hurt first saw the photo on the news while she was in jail. At the time, she thought "it was terrible" that police would expose her like that. "Now, I do think it was a good thing, because I’m able to look back and see that's who I was, and that was the place it led to." The Washington Post reports Hurt has struggled with addiction since she was prescribed painkillers for a staph infection at 15. While locked up following her overdose, she missed her son's first Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthday. "I told myself I wasn't going to miss any more of his life," she says. She says her son—and the photo—have given her "the true desire" to stay sober.