Ohio couple calls out heroin in teen daughter’s obituary

 

According to Dan Sewell from the Associated Press, in MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) — Confronted with the sudden death of their 18-year-old daughter, Fred and Dorothy McIntosh Shuemake made a defiant decision: they would not worry about any finger-pointing, whispers or family stigma.

They directed the funeral home to begin Alison Shuemake’s obituary by stating flatly that she died “of a heroin overdose.” They aren’t the first grieving American parents to cite heroin in an obituary as such deaths nearly quadrupled nationally over a decade, but it’s rare, even in a southwest Ohio community headed toward another record year in heroin-related deaths.

“There was no hesitation,” Dorothy said. “We’ve seen other deaths when it’s heroin, and the families don’t talk about it because they’re ashamed or they feel guilty. Shame doesn’t matter right now.”

Her voice cracked as she sat at a table covered with photos of Alison: the high school diploma earned this year, awards certificates, and favorite things such as her stuffed bunny named Ashley that says “I love you” in a voice recording Alison made as a small child.

“What really matters is keeping some other person, especially a child, from trying this … We didn’t want anybody else to feel the same agony and wretchedness that we’re left with,” she said.

She and Fred, a retired Middletown police detective who investigated crimes against children, want to promote a potentially preventive dialogue about what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls an epidemic. In Butler County, where the Shuemakes live, the coroner’s statistics show heroin-related deaths jumped in two years from 30 to 103 in 2014, with 86 recorded already through the first six months of this year.

Their decision has drawn a wide outpouring of support, both locally and on social media, with online comments and emails from around the world.


 

Read more about this topic here.

Contact the reporter Dan Sewell here.

If you enjoyed this post, or found it informative, please consider sharing it!

Comments are closed.