My son, Anthony Joseph Seery, died on September 14, 2010, of an accidental overdose of Oxycontin. He was 20 years old. My son hated the word “addict”. He himself felt that word to be derogatory and he certainly didn’t fit the perceived image of an addict. Tony was a sweet, compassionate, loving, and caring human being. He was kind and stood up for those who couldn’t stand up for themselves. He referred to himself as an advocate because he judged no one. He never felt that it was his place to judge anyone for anything. He was everyone’s best friend. He loved music, playing sports, his family, and his many, many friends. He had a sweet smile, a loud laugh, and the most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen. He was simply beautiful, inside and out. He was loved very much, and now he is missed more than words can say. This world is not a better place without him in it.
He also suffered with depression, anxiety, and low self esteem, even as a little boy. How could someone with such a compassionate spirit help others and not help himself? The answer is he took on everyone else’s problems as his own and it was painful for him. He would never turn anyone away who wanted his encouragement, his help, his kindness, or his love. He began to self medicate with marijuana to relieve the pain and anxiety he felt every day of his life. On the day he died, he had taken Oxycontin and was also drinking alcohol. He took too much Oxycontin and he didn’t wake up, and he died. I have no idea how long he was gone before 911 was called. My feeling is he was gone long before anyone noticed, and it would have been too late for Naloxone.
My hope is that Steve’s Law will save many lives. My hope is that it won’t be too late for the next young adult who overdoses. My hope is that this second chance will be their epiphany and they will get sober and live a life that is full of happiness and purpose. My hope is another mother will be spared the shock and horror of the phone call that her child is dead. My hope is that the stigma of addiction will be dismissed. My hope is that education and compassion will take its place. Addiction is not a moral character defect. It is a disease of the brain. No one who uses drugs wants to be addicted to drugs. It begins as an experiment, an injury, a surgery, as a temporary relief to the emotional and physical pain that we, as human beings, experience every day of our lives.
Now word needs to get out that if someone is overdosing in your presence, call 911. Don’t run. Do the right thing and save a life. You will not be prosecuted. You will be saving a life. A life that matters. A life of a human being that is loved, just as Anthony Joseph Seery was loved.
I am grateful and proud of the accomplishment of getting Steve’s Law passed. I have never met a group of people so unselfish, passionate, and caring in my life and I will be forever grateful. Thank you for showing me encouragement, sympathy, love, compassion. Where I once felt no hope, I now feel very hopeful that Steve’s Law will save lives. Lives that matter, lives of our children. Ironically, that is what Tony gave others during his short life here on earth as well. Funny how that came back to me full circle.
With love and much gratitude,
Maria McCartan Dusterhoft
Mother of Anthony “Tony” Seery