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An obituary has gone viral for its heartbreaking honesty about opioid addiction.

It also educates those who don’t understand the disease.

Photo by Cindy Shebly/Flickr

To those who don’t understand addiction, an addict is no more than a person who lacks self-control who’d rather walk around in a daze than deal with real life.

They are someone to be judged instead of supported.

Nothing is further from the truth.

Research has show that there are a long list of issues that lead to addiction, none of which have anything to do with will power. Addicts are highly likely to have struggled with some form of childhood trauma, PTSD, sexual or physical abuse or a mental disorder.

Genetics has also been shown to play a big role in perpetuating addiction.

If we are going to overcome America’s devastating addiction problem, educating the public is a must. Tough love or “Just say no” policies aren’t going to help.


An obituary for a young mother in Vermont is going viral because it handles her addiction with honesty and compassion. It also educates people who do not understand the disease while comforting the afflicted.

Madelyn Linsenmeir, 30, died October 7, and her obituary was published in The Burlington Free Press.

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

The obituary doesn’t paint Linsenmeir not as a junkie, but a complete person who was “hilarious” and “warm,” even in her darkest hours.

“In a system that seems to have hardened itself against addicts and is failing them every day, she befriended and delighted cops, social workers, public defenders and doctors, who advocated for and believed in her ‘til the end,” the obituary reads.

The obituary also gives hope to those struggling with addiction.

“If you yourself are struggling from addiction, know that every breath is a fresh start. Know that hundreds of thousands of families who have lost someone to this disease are praying and rooting for you,” the obituary reads. “Know that we believe with all our hearts that you can and will make it. It is never too late.

It encourages those who do not understand addiction to educate themselves.

“If you are reading this with judgment, educate yourself about this disease, because that is what it is,” it continues “It is not a choice or a weakness. And chances are very good that someone you know is struggling with it, and that person needs and deserves your empathy and support.”

Addiction is an overwhelming issue that afflicts not only those who suffer with substance abuse but their families and society as a whole. Reversing the rising rates of addiction deaths in this country will only happen through education and compassion.

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