Emmett Scannell, a 20 year old college sophomore, had wholesome good looks, a loving family, a full scholarship, and a heroin habit. Instead of covering up their son’s death from a heroin drug overdose, they bravely opened up at his funeral about how drugs took their son.
A local CBS News station interviewed the parents and showed excerpts from the young man’s eulogy, where his father says that his son didn’t look like a junkie, a young man in the grips of a powerful addiction. Emmett had been in and out of rehab during his 18 months of drug use. His family tried all they could to save him, but the disease had too strong a hold on their son.
The last time Mr. Scannell saw his son he begged him to just complete his finals and not shoot drugs. Although his son, as addicts do, promised not to use drugs anymore, just eleven days later he was dead from an overdose. They believed him, as their son was an honest young man, and because they had no idea how insidious the grip of addiction can be.
The Scannells shared their son’s tragic story to shatter the stereotype of the typical drug user. An opioid addict can be the kid next door, the honor student, the nice young man from a caring family. His frank and emotional talk during Emmett’s eulogy led one women at the funeral service to vow she would immediately check her daughter into rehab.
Heroin, along with prescription drug abuse, is a worldwide epidemic, costing the lives of many young people who end up in a personal hell, sometimes only released by death. Parents need to be aware of drug abuse as a disease, not a shameful secret, so that more young people get the help they need.