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U.S. senator breaks up as she tells Sean Murdick’s story


Sean Murdick’s parents are hoping their son’s death from a heroin overdose might end up saving lives.

Click to read the special report

Sean was 22 when he died in a Lake Worth sober home on Sept. 28, 2015.

>>Heroin scourge: 'Not a thing being done about it'

>>Interactive Calendar: All the lives lost

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, her voice breaking up, spoke about Sean’s story of addiction on the floor of the Senate this year. She was urging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue guidelines for the safe prescribing of opioids for the treatment of acute pain. Two months later, the CDC issued guidelines for prescribing opiods for chronic pain.

Sean, a co-captain of his high school football team in Albany, N.Y., became addicted to pain pills when he was prescribed oxycodone after breaking his arm while he worked at a construction site. When his prescription ran out, he bought pills on the street. And when they got too expensive, he turned to heroin.

>>What is addiction? Why some can’t give it up, others can walk away

>>Former assistant state attorney, a potential star, is lost to epidemic

After trying detox and treatment in New York and Vermont, Sean came to Lake Worth and enrolled in The Treatment Center. He had been clean for nearly six months before relapsing.

He was found dead in the bathroom of his sober home on North F Street with a syringe and empty heroin packet nearby.

“The system failed him every step of the way,’’ said Gillibrand, who cited a story about Sean in the Albany Times Union.

“Too many parents are telling me stories about their children who have died, and for too many patients, they’re being prescribed opioids like Percocet and Vicodin and OxyContin for acute pain. They get prescribed this medication for getting a wisdom tooth out, for a broken wrist — a medicine that they really only need for two or three days.’’

>>Full Coverage: Generation Heroin special report

>>How addicts and families can get help

Sean’s parents have formed an awareness group that studies legislation called Nopiates. They’ve organized rallies and protest walks through the streets of their hometown of West Sand Lake, N.Y.

In September, they attended the Fed Up! rally to end the opioid epidemic in Washington D.C. where they met up with recovering addicts from Lake Worth who shared a halfway house with their son and carried a banner in his memory.

“This is how we deal with our grief. We are trying desperately to help people so they don’t go through what we went through,” said Kim Murdick.

“We are not going to let this go by the wayside. Something positive is going to come out of this.”


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