Society

Family Opens Up About 18-Year-Old Daughter's Heroin Overdose

| by Jonathan Constante

An Ohio family that lost its teenage daughter to a heroin overdose is hoping her story will help save a life.

“She was so happy as a little kid, full of life and love,” Dorothy Shuemake said of her 18-year-old daughter, Alison. “Sparkle, that's her favorite color, sparkle, and Allie definitely sparkled.”

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Dorothy told local news station WLWT her daughter had just moved into her own apartment a month ago and had dreams of being a cosmetologist. Alison and her boyfriend, Luther Combs, 31, were found dead in the apartment on Aug. 26.

“She was so proud, she got her first car, she had two jobs, she signed up for college,” Dorothy said.

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Dorothy and her husband, Fred, said Alison had a natural curiosity. They believe that is what ultimately led to their daughter’s death.

“She was just dabbling. It was part of that curiosity,” said Fred, a retired detective of the Middletown Division of Police. “She was not strung out. This was not some long-term addiction that she had.”

“She didn't know it would kill her,” Dorothy added.

The Shuemakes were told that marijuana and opiates were found in their daughter’s system, the Journal-News reported. The family mentioned it in the first sentence of her obituary, hoping it may help prevent this happening to another family.

“Because this is happening so much to so many families and we want to start talking about it. We want other people to talk about it,” Dorothy said. “We thought that if we could say it, then maybe this wouldn't happen to some other family.”

Alison was buried at Woodside Cemetery on Aug. 31, WLWT reported.

Dorothy told the Journal-News Alison used drugs to feel pain-free and they tried everything to get her to stop.

“She pushed away from her friends and the activities she loved so much and school she was so good at,” she said. “We tried everything. We exhausted every avenue. We tried counseling, we tried rehab. We have prayed so much I wonder if God is tired of listening.”

Dorothy said: “She pretended she was happy. And she pretended she liked the smoking and the drinking, but it didn’t make her happy. She could see all the things she lost. Her doctors fought for her. Her counselors fought for her. We don’t think she meant to die. She felt invincible like 18-year-olds are supposed to feel.”

Dorothy said she's speaking out because she doesn't wan this to happen to another family.

“There can’t be anything worse. We have suffered losses before. I didn’t know that I’d never hold my baby again. I didn’t know I wouldn’t hear her call me mom again.”

Sources: WLWT, Journal-News / Photo credit: Screenshot from WLWT