Greg McNeil has lived through one of the most horrific events any of us could ever imagine :: the loss of a son/daughter. Greg’s son, Sam, became addicted to opioids back in 2008 after suffering severe facial injuries in a fight. When the pain pills were no longer available to him, he turned to the streets and found a less expensive option – heroin. It was not until 2010 – some two years after his heroin use began – that his parents discovered he had been using. It was at this very moment that the McNeil’s world would change forever.
The family began the recovery process and did all they could for Sam, sending him to treatment facilities in Akron, Ohio and then years later in Boca Raton, Florida. While the process is riddled with ups-and-downs – and the likely potential for relapses throughout – the family stayed strong and offered as much support to Sam as they possibly could. By early 2015, things were slowly looking up as Sam continued to create a life for himself in Florida. He was working in aerospace sales and had met the love of his life, a woman with whom he’d move in with in the coming months.
Fast forward to October of that same year when life, for the McNeil’s, would take an abrupt turn for the ultimate worst. It was early October when Sam had found out his girlfriend was pregnant. He could not have been more ecstatic, calling his parents with the good news. While the McNeil’s were a little apprehensive at first, they shared in Sam’s joy knowing how happy he was. Unfortunately, that joy would be short-lived.
On Friday, October 23, 2015, Sam’s battle with heroin – and his life – would come to an end. It was believed that Sam hooked up with an old friend who provided him the heroin that day. Sadly enough, the heroin was laced with fentanyl, leaving Sam no hope of surviving. He was 28 years old.
The McNeil’s story is regrettably not uncommon :: a New York Times study found that approximately 60,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in 2016. And evidence seems to suggest that number will come back even larger for 2017 once the final results are in. To hopefully mitigate that number in future years, Greg McNeil has launched the non-profit organization, Cover2 Resources, in honor of his son. Cover2 seeks to offer preventative solutions to help reduce the risk of opioid addiction.
I want to extend a warm ‘thank you’ once more to Greg for coming on the podcast and sharing his painful and emotional story with all of us. We can only hope that Greg’s mission continues to expand so that other families achieve a different outcome than the one faced by the McNeil’s.