Writing an obituary is never easy, and writing one you think will drive positive change is even harder.
But for one mourning family from North Carolina, that's exactly what they did. 22-year-old Clay Shepard died of a heroin overdose on May 17th, 2015, and instead of avoiding the cause of death in the obituary, his family decided to tell it straight:
"Our charismatic and beautiful son and brother died Sunday morning from a drug overdose," the obituary read.
The Shepard family is not alone. Their honest remarks are part of a growing trend to raise awareness about heroin. Families from Harrison, Ohio and Manchester, New Hampshire, have both made waves for similar decisions. A simple Google search reveals many families are following suit.
It can't be an easy decision to include information like this in your child's obituary, but it could be an important new tool in battling what has become a nationwide epidemic. Hopefully, this will only add to the pot of positive re-thinking about addiction happening all over the country. Just a few weeks ago, Gloucester County Police Department announced a new policy in handling addicts: they will no longer arrest someone if they arrive at the police station with drugs, as long as they turn them in and ask for help.
The new thought process is likely a response to the explosion of heroin in the United States. Between 2007 and 2012, the number of heroin users doubled to nearly 700,000 across the country, according to an NBC report.
"This note isn't an attempt to assign blame for Clay's death," the obituary said. "It's not to vent our anger and frustration at a world where drugs can be ordered and delivered through the internet. We write this obituary in hope that it may provide an insight to those that need to change their behavior one night at a time."
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