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Parents Hope 'Honesty' In Obituary For Heroin-Addicted Son Helps Others

BRIDGEWATER (CBS) – A grieving local family wants everyone to know that heroin killed their son.

The obituary for 20-year-old Emmett Scannell doesn't gloss over his addiction. Instead, it describes – in heartbreaking detail – the disease that took his life on April 20.

Emmett's parents write that he was a recovering alcoholic and had been sober for two years before he went off to college in August 2014.

"Within 6 weeks, heroin came into his and our lives, stole him from us and Substance Use Disorder killed him in only 18 months," the obituary states.

The college sophomore's casket was carried into Bridgewater's Central Square Congregational Church on Wednesday. Inside, his father talked about why he wants everyone to know about Emmett's struggle.

"Our honesty and openness in this obituary was so that other parents could follow suit without shame or embarrassment," Bill Scannell said.

Emmett's family says their public plea, shared more than 3,000 times so far on Facebook, is already making an impact.

"A close friend of mine 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," Bill Scannell told CBS News.

Local resources like Learn2Cope are available for those with loved ones who are struggling with addiction.

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