The obituary for a young mother who recently died of an opioid overdose went viral. A Police Chief’s reaction to the moving obituary further highlights the need for further action against the opioid crisis.

Obituary Goes Viral

On Oct. 7, Madelyn Linsenmeir died of an opioid overdose, 14 years after the beginning of her addiction. In a moving obituary, her family wrote about how she was a warm, hilarious, and fearless person, and how she was born a performer who loved to share her voice. However, at the age of 16, she had her first experience with OxyCotin at a party and it started an addiction that she carried for the rest of her life.

More than anything else, the obituary focused on the kind of person that Madelyn was and how hard she tried to battle her addiction especially after having her son. However, her addiction eventually cost her the custody of him.

Unfortunately, despite her resilience and how hard she fought for years, she succumbed to the addiction early this month and lost her life.

Humanizing Addiction Issues

“It is impossible to capture a person in an obituary, and especially someone whose adult life was largely defined by drug addiction. To some, Maddie was just a junkie — when they saw her addiction, they stopped seeing her. And what a loss for them,” the family states in the obituary, highlighting the problem of dehumanizing those with addiction problems.

The obituary also encouraged those who would like to pay their respects to donate to the Turning Point Center instead of flowers, as it is the facility where Madelyn spent time battling her condition.

‘We Should Have Felt Them Years Ago’

In a Facebook response to the viral obituary, Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo stated his “problem” with the obituary — being more of the people’s response to it rather than the obituary itself. In it, he wonders why it took a well-written obituary for people to finally take notice of the problem when millions of others have already died in past years. In fact, he stresses that this was not the first incidence where a beautiful, young mother got addicted and died because of an opioid addiction.

“But if Maddie was a black guy from the Bronx found dead in his bathroom of an overdose, it wouldn't matter if the guy's obituary writer had won the Booker Prize, there wouldn't be a weepy article in People about it,” writes del Pozo. He even shared his family’s own experiences with deaths related to the opioid crisis and stressed that such deaths happen all the time, to people who are “no less loved and needed and human.”

Del Pazzo thanked Madelyn and her family because their moving obituary shone the light on the pressing problem. He continued that there will be more who will succumb to the addiction and that they all need help — stressing that the feelings and emotions that people felt about the opioid crisis because of Madelyn’s death should have been felt years ago. 

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