An obituary published in Vermont on October 14 tells the story of a lifelong struggle with opioid dependence in open and honest words.
Since its release, the obituary has become viral and spread through social media and national news channels. It has led to donations for drug rehabilitation centers and to discourse about what is a difficult topic for many people.
Madelyn Ellen Linsenmeir died on October 7, at the age of 30, after fighting addiction for more than a decade.
Linsenmeir does not die of an overdose, but of a severe staph infection caused by intravenous drug use, according to her sister Maura O'Neill
It all started in Florida.
Linsenmeir and her parents moved from Vermont to Florida at the age of 16 to attend a performing arts program at Booker High School in Sarasota
While living there, she tried Oxycontin at a high school party according to the obituary.
The addiction dominated the rest of her
Opioid abuse is a persistent problem in Florida where mortality rates reflect and sometimes surpass national trends.
The latest data from the National Institute for Drug Abuse show that there were 2,798 opioid-related overdose deaths in Florida in 2016; the rate of the state was higher than the national average.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show significant increases in drug overdose deaths in Florida from 2014 to 2015 and from 2015 to 2016, with opioids – prescriptive and illegal – as the main drivers
The epidemic is one of the major contributors few cases of bipartisanship in Washington in recent years. Several equality laws on the opioid epidemic have gone through Congress in recent weeks and are now awaiting the signature of the President.
One of these, the Centralized Opioid Guidance Act, was approved by the US Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, sponsored in-house, would provide a central source of information on how patients can safely use opioids to manage pain without developing dependence. The resources are currently distributed among various government agencies.
Local governments are also placing resources in the hands of those who are often in contact with opiate addicts.
For example, Bradenton's police were trained last year to administer Narcan, an opioid antagonist that reverses an opioid overdose. Linsenmeir's obituary speaks for compassion and understanding regarding those who struggle with drug addiction.
"For some, Maddie was just a junkie – when they saw their addiction, they stopped looking at it," reads part of the obituary. "And what a loss for her, because Maddie was hilarious and warm and fearless and resilient, she could and wanted to talk to anyone, and if you were in her company, you wanted to stay."
"In a system that is itself hardened against addicts and failed every day, she has become friends with cops, social workers and pleased public defenders and doctors who stood up for them to the end and believed in them. She was worshiped as a daughter, sister, niece, cousin, friend, and mother, and being loved by Madelyn was an everlasting amazing gift.
An author of the obituary was not listed, but an October 17 article on People .com announced that it was written by Linsenmeir's oldest sister, Kate O'Neill.
O & # 39; Neill also had other news for readers.
"If you read this with judgment, you educate yourself about this disease because that's what it is. It is not a choice or a weakness. And chances are good that someone you know is struggling with it, and that person needs and deserves your empathy and support.
The obituary attracted public reactions from many, including US Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and New Hampshire Maggie Hassan, the state with the second highest opioid death rate in the country, as well as the police chief from the city in which it was published.  "I have a problem with this obituary", begins a Facebook post from Burlington, Vt. Www.mjfriendship.de/de/index.php?op…=view&id=167 "Why did it need a mourning relative? a good literary sense, to alert people for a moment and shed a tear when nearly a quarter of a million people grew up in the same as Maddie as this epidemic?
"She died exactly like my wife's cousin Meredith, who died in Bethesda, herself a young mother, but if Maddie was a Bronx black who had found an overdose dead in his bathroom, it did not matter if the guy Whether the Italian writer had won the Booker Prize, and there was no article in the People about it.
"Why not? But if it had, early enough, and we acted quickly, humanly, and accordingly Maddie might still be here. Make no mistake no matter who you are or what you look like: Maddie's bell is ringing someone close to you and maybe someone you love. Ask the police and they'll tell you: Maddie's death was nothing special at all. It happens all the time, people no less loved and used and human.
Current resources for people fighting opioid dependence include a national drug and alcohol treatment hotline, which can be reached at 1-800-662-HELP (4357), as well as online resources from the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, which helps victims find local help.