Parents Refuse to Bury Truth About Son's Heroin Overdose Death

We are losing too many young people to the opiate abuse epidemic. We need to take every and all steps to save them and prevent the loss of these lives. This includes advocating for legislation for safer prescribing and to ensure that parents are educated about the addictive qualities of the medicine children are being prescribed, as NJ Assembly Bill 3424 will accomplish.


Parents refuse to bury truth about son's heroin overdose death

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. --In Bridgewater, Massachusetts on Wednesday, a mother and father laid their son to rest. But they refused to hide the truth about his death.

Family, friends, even strangers, watched as the coffin carrying the body of 20-year-old college sophomore Emmett Scannell made its way into Central Square Congregational Church.


Coffin carrying the body of 20-year-old college sophomore Emmett Scannell makes its way into Central Square Congregational Church.


Inside, an emotional father celebrated the life of his oldest boy, once an honor student on full academic scholarship. With painful honesty, he told the world thatheroin made it all go wrong.

"Our honesty and openness in his obituary was so that other parents can follow suit without shame or embarrassment," his father said at the funeral.

Bill Scannell and Emmett's mom, Aimee, decided to be open about the cause of their son's death. They posted a Facebook message with their son's obituary, and Emmett's dad read it before all at the funeral.

"When you look at this picture, do you see a junkie? Do you see a desperate young man who is addicted to heroin? Do you see someone that is so sad and depressed he had become a prisoner of his own life?" Bill asked.


Emmett Scannell.


Emmett was on heroin for just 18 months -- and was in and out of rehab while in school.

"He was looking for the next high, it's a disease. He was looking for the next best thing," his mother Aimee said.

His father recently discovered his son might be using again.

"I hugged him right there. I whispered in his ear, 'Emmett please don't shoot dope. Just finish finals. And I love you' and he looked right at me in the eyes and he said 'Dad I promise I won't. I love you,'" said Bill.

Eleven days later, Emmett was dead.


Emmett's parents Aimee and Bill.


Their public plea is already making an impact.

"A close friend of mine came up and hugged me and whispered in our ear that because her daughter who had been a heroin addict and substance abuse sufferer saw Emmett's story -- they were leaving right here from the funeral to check her into detox immediately," said Bill.

In Massachusetts, four people die everyday from opioid overdoses. The Scannell family says they are on a mission to bring those numbers down.

If you want to help the Scannell family, you can reach them at or send them a friend request on Facebook


Ruthann Gaspari
Posted 4/28/2016 7:52 PM

May your son Rest in peace. I am so sorry for your loss I am so sorry you have to go through this journey I to lost my son, robert rebyak to the horrible disease of drug addiction We are here to talk or just too listen unfortunately their are so many of us. My condolences again

Posted 4/29/2016 10:27 AM

I applaud you for making it known to the public that your beautiful son died of a heroin overdose. It is still fresh in my mind how in 1996 my father stood next to my brother's coffin telling everyone he had died from maybe a blood clot in his brain. My brother was 37 with four young children and a wife on the other side of the bathroom door where he died on the floor with a needle in his arm. I am truly one of the lucky ones whose own daughter came in from the cold and arrested the "monster" almost 8 years ago. She's 29 now and continues to battle the illness of addiction every day of her life. She's a miracle and a champion!

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