New Hampshire man's poetry foreshadowed his own overdose death

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New Hampshire man's poetry foreshadowed his own overdose death

Post by Admin on Sat Jul 30, 2016 11:43 pm

ATKINSON, N.H. — Michael Serratore's poetry foresaw his ultimate fate.

"'Mi Mi, Mi Mi!! Daddy won't wake up'/I imagine a broken coffee cup/Then a discovery of what was me/We hurt the ones closest and pretend not to see."

Those words he wrote a year ago became a reality last month, when the 31-year-old was found dead of a fentanyl overdose in his Atkinson home.

ATKINSON, N.H. — Michael Serratore's poetry foresaw his ultimate fate.

"'Mi Mi, Mi Mi!! Daddy won't wake up'/I imagine a broken coffee cup/Then a discovery of what was me/We hurt the ones closest and pretend not to see."

Those words he wrote a year ago became a reality last month, when the 31-year-old was found dead of a fentanyl overdose in his Atkinson home.

Download PDF The words of Michael Serratore
On the evening of June 12, Jack Serratore, Michael's father, opened a text message from his son that thanked him for a fun-filled day of relaxation on the family boat. Four generations had spent time enjoying each other's company.

But when Michael got home, there was a deadly dosage of narcotics waiting in the mailbox. Thinking it was heroin that a dealer had dropped off, he took it and overdosed soon after.

An autopsy later revealed that the substance was actually fentanyl.

Leading up to his death, Michael had been working for the family business — installing roofing and siding every day — and spending more time with his loved ones when he was off the clock.

Still, they were left stunned by the news.

"I didn't know anything was wrong for quite a while," said Robin Serratore, Michael's mother. "It (heroin) was a way for him to escape, and he was ashamed of it so he didn't make it widely known."

Jack recalls his son, in part, as a gifted artist who grew up fishing and playing billiards by his side, but mostly as a devoted father who wanted nothing more than to be clean of the drugs that haunted him from a young age.

Michael's addiction began around 14, when someone he trusted introduced him to painkillers, Jack said.

"He hated doing that stuff (drugs). He always said that it made him feel awful, but the craving was so strong," Jack said. "He was doing so well, but the craving would come back. The only way to stop kids from doing drugs is to make sure they never start."

In the wake of their loss, Jack and his family are advocating for earlier education in an effort to save others from the suffering they've endured.

"D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education, an international substance abuse prevention program) needs to step it up," said Jennifer Phillips, Michael's sister. "There needs to be more education in general about drugs and what they do to you."

When formal lessons in the classroom aren't enough, the family would like to see more rehabilitation available.

Phillips recalls a darker time, several years ago, when Michael willingly entered a program after a period of heavier drug use. But it cost $5,000 for a one-week stay, and was unsuccessful in halting his urge to use.

Despite his son's best efforts, Jack said dealers would often show up and encourage the illegal purchases, sometimes even providing drugs for free.

That's what may have happened last month.

"He always thought he knew what he was taking," Phillips said. "He would talk about how the color of fentanyl was different, but that's something that people need to know: you never know what you're actually taking."

Over the last month, the family has also learned who was responsible for providing the substance.

Kenneth Chapman, 62, has been charged with distribution of a controlled drug in connection with Michael's death. He was sentenced to six months in jail two years ago for selling oxycodone to a police officer. He overdosed on opiates himself earlier this year; he was revived with Narcan, according to an affidavit.

"We just need to get this stuff off the street. Honest to God, it only takes doing it once to get hooked," Robin said.

She encourages anyone who knows of a dealer in their area to contact police.

"You could save someone's life. If you know a dealer is down the street, call anonymously if you need to," she said. "But just call."

Phillips said she hopes to see changes in the stereotypes surrounding drug users as well.

"He was a family man. We were all so close," she said. "He was not what you think you of when you picture an addict."

In his writings, Michael reiterates those sentiments of caring for his family and wanting more from life.

"So here I go, I know too well what's coming/Anxious fear and loathing, restless memories forming/The difference between us is, I care for others, ya ya me me/But I love those who pretend not to see."

Edelstein writes for the North Andover, Massachusetts Eagle-Tribune.

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