Updated: Jul 24, 2020
By Sean's mom, Tammi
Sean Timothy O'Halloran
Sean was so much more than his addiction before heroin took over his life. A man of integrity and intellect, Sean was an honest, funny, non-judgmental young man. His passion was landscaping and he got his 1st job at age 15 where he grew up on Cape Cod, MA. He planned to further his expertise through schooling.
I believe Sean's addictions started at the age of 14, when a family member smoked pot with him. When he was 16 he stole pain medication from our medicine cabinet, prescribed from a car accident I had been in. At 18 he was prescribed valium prior to having a wisdom tooth taken out. I had been unaware of his addiction to benzodiazepines until his life starting showing signs of ”Jackpots” (AA slang) and I took him to his first treatment program when he was 21. Sean had long periods of time where he was doing really well, but his addiction always won for some reason or another. Sean NEVER gave up the good fight of his addiction. He went to many detoxes, treatment facilities, sober houses, 12-step programs, and saw several therapists. When benzodiazepines became increasingly hard to get from prescribing doctors, and too expensive to buy on the street, Sean started using heroin. Heroin is cheap and easy to get, and in my opinion part of the progression of being addicted to benzodiazepines if you can’t stay clean.
Sean's final overdose came on June 3rd, 2015 when he was found in the men's room of the Boston Public Library. By the time he was found and the ambulance arrived, he had lost a lot of oxygen but was still alive. Sean spent the next four weeks at the Tufts Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where they diagnosed him as having an anoxic brain injury and he was in a vegetative state. His eyes were always open, he thrashed his legs constantly, did “posturing” with his arms, and relentlessly grinded his teeth. From Tufts, Sean was transferred to a rehabilitation center in Roslindale in hopes of “waking him up” from the vegetative state. While in the center, he got pneumonia and an infection. They transferred Sean back to the ICU at Tufts where they tried several rounds of antibiotics, etc., but nothing worked. I had to make a decision no mother could ever dream of making: to relieve Sean of his suffering. I brought him to a hospice in Sandwich, MA on August 16th, and on August 29th the Dr. stopped his breathing machine. I climbed in bed with my beautiful child at 10 p.m. and held him and told him it was ok to go now and be at peace. Sean Timothy O’Halloran passed at 1 a.m. on August 30th, 2015. Sean's family got to the hospice within a half hour and we all agreed that we felt this overwhelming sense of peace for Sean. He was finally not a prisoner to his addiction any longer.