Faces of Addiction: Sammi’s Legacy

There are some people who have a sort of "It Factor" -- who draw attention and make others around them feel instantly at ease. Sammi Henehan was one of those people.

According to her family, Samantha was "a bubbly, social butterfly that was loved by everybody."

"She could walk into a room, and in a matter of two minutes, even if she walked in a stranger, inside of two to three minutes, she would have you sitting there laughing and joking and talking about personal, sometimes intimate details in your life because she was that approachable," said her father Marty.

But in April of 2016, a tragedy struck: Sammi died of a heroin overdose. Her parents have now made it their mission to make the topic of addiction as approachable as their daughter was.

Sammi reportedly started struggling with drugs and alcohol as a teenager. Although she was sober when she began her 20s, Sammi relapsed last year, taking a fatal dose of heroin a few months shy of her 24th birthday.

"She was proud of who she was, and when we put it in the paper that she died of an accidental overdose, I knew it was something that she would want people to know," said her mother Stacy. "A month later, I was going through her things and I found an obituary that she had wrote when she was in treatment, like a month prior to her passing away."

It was almost word for word. The obituary Sammi wrote for herself while seeking treatment for her addiction was also the reassurance her parents needed to try to prevent this tragedy for another family.

They created the "Forever Sammi Foundation" with the goal of uniting addicted individuals and their families with treatment services.

"One of the things we're trying to tell people and express to people is, stop whispering about it. It's real. It happens," said Marty.

The Henehans have decided to confront the heroin epidemic locally the way they feel Sammi would have -- loudly.

On the anniversary of Sammi's death, the Henehan's joined families like theirs at the RailRiders home opener and released balloons in memory of people across the region who lost their lives to overdoses. They say tackling the heroin epidemic together is key.

Both Stacy and Marty admit to trying to hide Sammi's addiction from the outside world. Their daughter had a budding career in banking, and they worried that the label of "addict" would've hurt her.

The Henehans say now what they really needed, above all else, was help.

"When we were in our own home, we only had our own home's resources. We only had our own home's guidance, understanding of this," Marty explained.

It isn't easy to stare down the disease that took their daughter, but the family is inspired by her spirit. In life, Sammi always rooted for the underdog.

"She would be proud," her mother said. "She would."

12 comments

  • i quit..

    TRULY SORRY FOR LOSS. But a doper will only quit when they hit bottom. You covering up was wrong. SO she lost job. Better than being dead. As long they have someone bailing them out they will keep on half trying .

  • Scott

    Sylvester stallone shows up as part of the original group in “Guardians of the galaxy volume 2” and will be in volume 3

  • Lloyd Schmucatelli

    Tough time caring anymore….

    To the parents: the closest people to the addicts help in their demise by enabling them to use and bailing them out over and over and over and over.

    It’s true.

  • SorryNotSorry

    There is no such thing as an “accidental overdose” of heroin… no one accidently takes heroin. I don’t feel bad for those who die from stupid decisions. Its harsh, but reality. Same as prisoners should not be practically on vacation… hard labor. Its supposed to be punishment. No sympathy for those who choose to break the law.

  • Tracy K.

    Addiction is a disease, does not discriminate. Addiction is a disease and untreated will kill. Having a disease does not give others the right to cast judgment upon you. We as neighbors, do not have the right to name call, judge, dismiss or throw rocks at you.
    We all should be reaching our hand out to help. Stacey and Marty and other families are doing the next best thing they know and that is helping others and keeping their daughters memory and spirt alive…. They never claimed they were perfect for no one is, except God.
    This is for you who think this can never happen to you, your family (because you informed them as a child) well let me tell you addiction can happen to anyone. You can live in the well manicured lawn or a run down home 🏡 Addiction affects everyone rich or poor….. Look in the mirror before you cast judgement.

    • E

      Blah blah blah it affects rich or poor blah blah blah. Same old tired bullsh*t. Can you even grasp the concept of scale, meaning just because one wealthy person has a drug problem in a given area that equates to the same as ten thousand poor people? Ha I don’t think so. It’s as if you pathetic people are rehearsing a play. “It affects everyone rich or poor”, “anyone can become an addict”. Over and over as if it will make it true. Every person with a drug problem is a shit human being and they deserve to suffer. Only people who are addicts themselves or family members who enabled addicts have your stupid opinion.

  • Mr. Yuck

    If only someone had warned her about how dangerous drug abuse is.

    Someone should start a campaign encouraging these kids to just say, “No.”

  • WarningFakeNews

    It’s a great idea to do this, you could easily run a story like this everyday and never run out of people to feature. Television as a medium has a great dilemma on their hands because the current generation isn’t tuning in. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of people who need to see this the most, won’t. Perhaps one way to try to bridge that gap would be to relate what we, the folks who still watch TV or visit their sites, to the younger people we care about in our own lives.

  • magicmikexxsm

    This is a shame, a very pretty girl with her whole life ahead of her made that 1 stupid mistake to try drugs…probably started off with WEED, and moved on from there..
    people we have all been at that “Y” in the road, or “Fork” in the road, go down the right side and take the path to a career and a good life, go down the left side and take the path of drugs and ultimately death…
    People teach your kids better, tell them if someone offers you drugs to just say NO, they are not your friends……

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