(STAR TRIBUNE) MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — Confronted with the sudden death of their 18-year-old daughter, Fred and Dorothy McIntosh Shuemake made a defiant decision: they would not worry about any finger-pointing, whispers or family stigma.
They directed the funeral home to begin Alison Shuemake's obituary by stating flatly that she died "of a heroin overdose." They aren't the first grieving American parents to cite heroin in an obituary as such deaths nearly quadrupled nationally over a decade, but it's rare, even in a southwest Ohio community headed toward another record year in heroin-related deaths.
"There was no hesitation," Dorothy said. "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."
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