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Sean H.

By Sean's mom, Sharon

Sean Herman

During Sean’s junior year at Ohio State, he called me during finals week to tell me that he was going to ride dirt bikes with his friend. I told him not to do it because he might fall, hurt himself and not be able to take his finals. Of course, he did it anyway, fell and hurt himself, just as I said. He didn’t want me know, so he didn’t go to the ER or Urgent Care. Instead, the guy living beside Sean gave him a few pills to take and told him that, “they would get him through.” Apparently, they did, and he liked them so he went back for more. This was the beginning of a five-year odyssey. Sean went through treatment and learned that oxycontin has the same chemical effect as heroin. Shortly after leaving treatment, Sean became addicted to heroin. He got clean several times, only to relapse again.

After being kicked out of my home and his father’s for stealing several times, Sean moved to Georgia. In Georgia, as Sean continued to struggle with addiction he also lived with two other individuals that struggled with addiction causing him to flounder. His father brought him back to Columbus and gave him a place to live, provided he stay clean. He paid for him to return to OSU to get his degree, which Sean did.

He was doing well until he went on a whitewater rafting trip with an NA group. He hurt himself and had to have surgery on his ankle. Despite Sean telling the doctor that he was a recovering addict, he was prescribed narcotics. Sean became addicted again and moved out of his father’s house. He moved in with a girl and I was hopeful she would support him to not use. However, she also began to struggle with addiction. The two of them and her son moved in with her father who, despite being a physician, was an enabler. Things spiraled out of control and Sean claimed that he was trying to put his life back together. Sean said that he was leaving the toxic relationship, getting a job, claimed to be getting clean and I allowed him to move back in with me.

On September 20, 2015, Sean moved most of his things into my house. He was upbeat, talked about the future and how the two of us were going to improve our lives together. Sean went back to the girlfriend’s house for one last night. At 4:00 am I was awakened by police at my door. They came to tell me that my son had died of a drug overdose. I waited until 6:00 am to call my mother with the news. She came right over to be with me. Two hours after she got to my house, my mother collapsed in my kitchen and died. The doctor thinks that it was a heart attack brought on by stress. People underestimate the fallout that happens to families impacted by addiction.

As it turns out, Sean was killed by fentanyl -- one of several people killed that same weekend in Columbus. I gave Sean’s cell phone to the police and they were able to find the person that sold it to him. He is now in prison on a 10 year sentence. My beautiful boy is gone forever. He was handsome, smart and oh so funny.

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