Ohio Family Opens Up About Heroin Addiction Struggles in Daughter's Obituary

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The obituary for Emily Kristine Cooley, who fatally overdosed age 20 on Jan. 5, urges people to "reach out and speak out" amid this opiate addiction crisis — and directly addresses Cooley's friends, who remained silent.

"Her family wants to express to her friends that when you know something is wrong, even at the risk of losing a friendship, please reach out and speak out," the obituary, published in the Sandusky Register, reads. "Emily struggled with drug addiction, and even after a year in a Florida rehabilitation center she returned back to her hometown familiar friends, and overdosed."

Cooley's mother expounds on her daughter's past in a follow-up news story.

"I’ve always been vocal about [addiction]. I would love to have people start talking about it. Wouldn’t you want to lose a friendship rather than a friend to an addiction?” Kim Barman told the paper.

Overdose deaths in Sandusky County steadily increased over the past few years, much in the same way that Northeast Ohio counties have seen the crisis plague wide swaths of the population.

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