PA Mom Speaks Out About Daughter’s Overdose and the Stigma of Addiction
Michelle Schwartzmier, from outside of Pittsburgh, knew her daughter Casey was struggling with addiction, but was not able to get her into rehab in time.
“It just wasn’t enough. If love alone could’ve saved my daughter, she would still be here.”
Tragically, on the night she died, Casey was getting ready to go to a rehabilitation facility. Schwartzmier said it was very difficult to find a facility for Casey. A facility had been found, but on Jan. 1, Schwartzmier said her health insurance coverage changed and they received a phone call that Casey’s place at the facility had been filled due to the change in insurance. The family continued working and found another facility for Casey, but it was too late.
The autopsy showed that the drug Casey had taken was not heroin at all, it was fentanyl.
“They (the dealer) had given her almost pure fentanyl. There was only a tiny amount in her system, but (because it was fentanyl) it would’ve been enough to kill 10-15 men. Things are so different now, because they’re (drug dealers) mixing fentanyl with everything. So those kids playing around on a Friday night really have no idea what they’re actually getting,” Schwartzmier said.
In a very candid and heartbreaking obituary that went viral on Facebook, Michelle Schwartzmier described how the power of addiction took her daughter’s life:
Casey wanted to live. She had dreams of a future career, children of her own, and fought hard all the way until the end, one day away from entering rehab, but couldn’t break the chains of this demon that’s wiping out a generation.
Addiction doesn’t discriminate. It will take hold and destroy anyone in its path including the families and people who love them. Addiction hides in the faces of everyday people all around us.
“It’s not like people think. By the time the addiction takes hold, the person isn’t taking the drug to get high any more, they’re taking it to keep from getting sick (from withdrawal),” Schwartzmier said.
“I found her body in the same room where we had tea parties and where we read bedtime stories. I found her overdosed beside her packed bags,” Schwartzmier said.
“I get calls from addicts who say they have Casey’s obituary and that’s what keeps them going another day,” she said. “There’s such a stigma on addicts and their families and it shouldn’t be that way.
“People reach out to me because they’re too full of shame to speak out. She (Casey) had so much potential. Get help for yourself; get help for the person you love. This can be your kid and this can happen to your family.”
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Read the full story at the Post Gazette.