As a teen, Ms. McGowan had smoked marijuana and brought mushrooms and ecstasy. But she all the time steered away from heroin, she mentioned, considering it was for junkies, for individuals residing in alleys. But her mates have been utilizing it, and over the past decade, she typically joined them.
She tried to interrupt her behavior by shopping for Suboxone — a drugs used to deal with habit — on the road. But the Suboxone usually ran out, and he or she turned to heroin to tide her over.
On Sept. 18, 2016, a good friend got here to Ms. McGowan’s home in Salem, N.H., and provided her successful of fentanyl, a lethal artificial painkiller 50 instances stronger than heroin. They sniffed a line and drove to the Family Dollar throughout the state line in Lawrence, the place Ms. McGowan collapsed together with her daughter beside her. At least two individuals within the retailer recorded the scene on their cellphones.
Medics revived her and took her to the hospital, the place youngster welfare officers took custody of her daughter, and the police charged Ms. McGowan with youngster neglect and endangerment. (She ultimately pleaded responsible to each and was sentenced to probation.) Two days later, the video of her overdose was printed by The Eagle-Tribune and was additionally launched by the Lawrence police.
The video performed in a loop on the native information, and vaulted onto CNN and Fox News, ricocheting throughout the online.
“For someone already dealing with her own demons, she now has to deal with public opinion, too,” mentioned Matt Ganem, the chief director of the Banyan Treatment Center, about 15 miles north of Boston, which gave Ms. McGowan six months of free remedy after being contacted by intermediaries. “You’re a spectacle. Everyone is watching.”
Ms. McGowan had solely seen snippets of the video on the information. But two months later, she watched the entire thing. She felt sick with remorse.