Middletown family lists 'heroin overdose' in daughter's obit to - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Middletown family lists 'heroin overdose' in daughter's obit to send a message

(Source: Ben Katko, FOX19 NOW) (Source: Ben Katko, FOX19 NOW)
(Source: Ben Kakto, FOX19 NOW) (Source: Ben Kakto, FOX19 NOW)

As the heroin epidemic keeps tightening its grip, another family feeling its effects firsthand is fighting back after the overdose death of their daughter.

For one Middletown family, they’re using very straight forward language in her obituary to continue to raise awareness of the spreading problem. 

Alison Shuemake was an 18-year old with a whole life ahead of her to live.

"She was brilliant and vivacious and strong-willed and funny,” said her mother, Dorothy Shuemake.

Alison had two jobs, was living in her first apartment and driving her first car.

"Talking about this picture was the last thing Ali and I talked about,” Dorothy said while flipping through photos of her daughter.

Life is unexpectedly different these days for the Shuemake family.  Their daughter’s life is packed in boxes in their living room after her life was cut drastically short by a heroin overdose.

"Everything's topsy-turvy.  You get to a point you're not sure which way is up,” said Fred Shuemake, Alison’s father.

A late night phone call just a few weeks ago brought the bad news after Alison's mother couldn't reach her when she missed a date to do laundry and have lunch.

"I would give anything that I've ever had or ever known, I would give it to have her back,” Dorothy said.  “I think my heart is broken forever.  But, I’m so glad I had her for those 18 years.”

Like anyone else, an obituary announced Alison's death.  What made it different than most other obituaries, the first sentence had the published words, “heroin overdose” as what killed Alison.

"I didn't want this to happen to anyone else, and if our talking about it makes a difference, then we'll talk.  We'll do what we can.  I don't want this to happen to some other family,” Dorothy said.

Her family doesn't think she had a full-blown heroin addiction, but did say she experimented with drugs and alcohol.  She graduated from Marshall High School in Middletown last year.  Her obituary through Legacy.com says she played sports and musical instruments in her lifetime.

"What we're pretty sure is just a bad choice, ended up killing her,” Dorothy said.

Her family tried to help with rehab, meetings and treatment.  The two words in her obituary are how they're fighting back now through the agony and the tears.

"Please don't try it.  Not even once.  If you've done it before, don't do it again.  It's not worth it,” Dorothy pleaded. 

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