Ohio couple calls out heroin in teen daughter’s obituary

Dorothy McIntosh Shuemake, mother of Alison Shuemake, cries as she hugs her daughter's toy stuffed rabbit. Image AP

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) – A couple in a southwest Ohio community hard-hit by heroin overdoses is drawing attention to the deadly problem by citing the drug in their 18-year-old daughter’s obituary.

Dorothy and Fred Shuemake say there can be feelings of shame or guilt over loss of a loved one to drugs. But the Middletown residents hope by stating “heroin overdose” for Alison’s death they can promote an open, potentially preventive, dialogue.

They aren’t the first to do so as overdose deaths nearly quadrupled nationally in a decade. But an addiction recovery expert in Butler County says such public acknowledgements remain rare, even as the county heads toward a record heroin death toll.

Dorothy’s voice cracked as she cradled Alison’s stuffed bunny, saying they want to spare other parents from such “agony.”

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