Parents of Teen Who Died From Heroin Are Upfront About Cause of Death

Illustration for article titled Parents of Teen Who Died From Heroin Are Upfront About Cause of Death

Two parents in Ohio decided not to mince words when it came to the cause of their daughter’s sudden passing. In the obituary, Fred and Dorothy McIntosh Shuemake clearly stated that their 18-year-old daughter, Alison, died of a heroin overdose.


The Associated Press reports heroin-related deaths have increased nearly four times in the past decade, but it is still rare to name the cause in obits. “There was no hesitation,” said Dorothy. “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.”

By being open about their tragedy, Fred and Dorothy hope they can help prevent other young people from going down the same path as their daughter. Last month, both Alison and her boyfriend, Luther, died in the apartment they shared. A heroin needle was found next to their bodies. After Dorothy told Luther’s parents of her plan to be open about the cause of death, they decided to do the same with his obituary.


Contact the author at

Image via AP.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter



I understand exactly where these parents are coming from. Our daughter had everything going for her when she graduated high school. She went to college, got addicted, and has lost everything as a result. She’s ruined her health, her mind, her relationships, and her future. She stole from everyone, got arrested, has warrants out for her, and she’s living in a travel trailer hundreds of miles away with no prospects for a better life.

We lived in utter shame from all this for months before I gave up and started sharing our story with others. People have to understand this happens in all levels of society, to anyone. It's been a horrible time for us and for her. Multiple trips to rehab have not helped, and we are at a loss as to what to do. Every time the phone rings, I'm waiting for it to be the police or worse.