“Secrets Will Help Nobody”: My Daughter’s Story of Addiction [VIDEO]

    My 20-year-old daughter Casey died of an accidental heroin overdose on January 15, 2017. She told me that if something were ever to happen to her, she’d want me to write an honest obituary about her struggles with addiction. “Tell them my story,” she said. “Secrets will help nobody. I would want to help someone else, to make them feel less alone — even if it’s just one person.”

    The struggle with Casey’s addiction affected myself, my husband and my son so deeply. That January, she was really excited for a fresh start, heading to a new rehabilitation center. Unfortunately, she overdosed the night before, next to her packed suitcase. I wrote her honest obituary, and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done – but it went viral and ended up affecting hundreds of people all over the world.

    Casey will always be special to me, but was she any more special than the other 74,000 people who died last year of an overdose? There are tragic stories everywhere, and I thought, “How can I inspire them? How can I give them hope?” And I realized they inspired me.

    I sat down to tell Casey’s story and talk about what she and so many others go through, and how where there’s breath, there’s hope:

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    Counting Lives instead of Deaths: A Mother’s Story of Overdose, Loss and Hope

    When Michelle Schwartzmier’s daughter Casey died of a heroin overdose, she remembered how Casey asked her to promise to write an honest obituary. That obituary went viral online across the country and all over the world, inspiring so many individuals and families to seek addiction treatment and to know that they are not alone in this struggle.

    By Michelle Schwartzmier, Parent & Advocate
    April 2020