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  • Writer's pictureMaine Cousins

Shaina's Story

Updated: Mar 16, 2023



On March 28, 2017 shortly after 5:00am our doorbell rang. Two police officers gave us the news that no family ever wants to receive. Our 22-year old daughter, Shaina, was gone. All they knew was she was dropped off at a hospital in Florida and they were notified of her passing by local police and they came to our home to deliver the news. Her death ended a horrible journey that Shaina, and those who loved her, suffered through over the course of four months. It’s a journey no parent should have to go through, but we really didn’t have any choice in the matter. We loved our daughter and would move heaven and earth to get her whatever help she needed. Shaina, like so many others, suffered from depression. She soon developed an addiction to Klonopin, which was prescribed by her psychiatrist. Like so many others who began their addiction taking prescribed medication, Shaina reached for other drugs (mainly pills) to try and take the pain away. We didn’t realize that she had a substance abuse problem until December of 2016. You see, Shaina wasn’t into drugs growing up. In fact, she wouldn’t even take her ADHD meds as a teenager, so it came as a complete surprise to us that she had a problem. Shaina entered her first rehab in January of 2017. The next 3 months were pure hell. We didn’t know a good rehab from a bad rehab from a dirty rehab. Luckily we did some research and found Shaina a good rehab in Florida. 30 days later she was doing amazingly well. For the first time in a long time we felt like we had our sweet angel back. Shortly thereafter things took a turn for the worse. One thing we didn’t account for when finding a reputable rehab was the fact that men and women shouldn’t be treated in the same rooms of a rehab. Shaina fell in love with a man who had his own issues. Together they both spiraled downwards. When a person is trying to create a sober living environment for themselves, they’re told that they shouldn’t enter into a romantic relationship until they have a year of sobriety. In effect Shaina traded one addiction for another. We had to fly her home and we agreed that she would go back to the rehab where she had success treating her addiction. She was not very enthusiastic about going back to the same place where she met the man she fell in love with because they knew too much about her personal life. After a short period of time she left the rehab and we had to enforce the Baker Act, which allowed us to send her to a facility for a complete Psychiatric evaluation. We did this because we felt that she was acting irrationally and was a danger to herself. Parents don’t have many options or rights when it comes to a child who is over the age of 18. Florida’s Baker Act was our only option. After a couple of days she decided to go back to rehab, but it had to be the rehab that she chose. We had very little choice in the matter and we were relieved that she was going back to a rehab to get help. Little did we know that she had visited this rehab weeks earlier with a friend who was also struggling with addiction and they both learned that this rehab was far more flexible than the one she had previously been in. Shaina arrived at the facility in the early afternoon of March 27, 2017. Several hours later she left the rehab and called me in hysterics to say they accused her of doing drugs and she fled. It wasn’t until she had already left the facility that they reached out to me. I found this very odd because the reputable facility she had been in previously called me when they saw she was struggling with her sobriety. When she told them she wanted to leave, the rehab worked with us to enforce the Baker Act to ensure her safety. Since the new rehab had picked her up from a Psychiatric hospital, they obviously knew she has just been Baker Acted and needed to be watched closely. As we learned later, that’s not what this rehab was all about. Like so many rehabs they were all about patient brokering and working the system to make as much money as possible off the troubles of those afflicted with alcohol and drug dependencies. We’re still unclear how Shaina received the pill that ended her life, but at 3am on the morning of March 28, 2017 she was carried into an emergency room and was pronounced dead. The Police Department said she had died of a heroin overdose, but we knew that wasn’t her thing. But what were we to believe? We could barely receive a call back from the detective in charge of the case, let alone expect them to investigate what happened. There are so many deaths attributed to drug overdoses in that area of Florida, and unless you can prove that there was some sort of foul play involved, it’s very difficult to get them to investigate a death. Even though they had video from the hospital showing the car that pulled up to the hospital, complete with video of a man and a woman carrying her into the emergency room, they still couldn’t identify the people. There was only one camera outside the emergency room and since Florida doesn’t require a license plate on the front of a car, we couldn’t track down who owned the vehicle. Couple that with the fact that the city where the hospital was discontinued the use of red light cameras earlier that year, we didn’t have much to work with. We hired multiple private investigators and they didn’t get very far in finding out what happened to our daughter on that fateful night. Three months later we received a call from the Palm Beach County Coroner’s office with the autopsy results. Shaina died from a lethal dose of Carfentanil which was mixed into some sort of Benzodiazepine pill when it was made. After what Shaina had gone through during the several days preceding her death, it was easy for us to understand why she would take something to try to relax, but we’d never heard of Carfentanil being mixed into a pill form. We still don’t know who gave her the pill and it’s likely that we never will. Most people are familiar with the more popular synthetic opioid, Fentanyl, which has caused many overdose deaths. Carfentanil is 100 times more potent than Fentanyl and it’s so deadly that it can kill you just by touching it. When Shaina was clean and sober she wrote in her journal how she couldn’t wait until she reached the point in her sobriety where she could speak at meetings and share her journey in hopes that it would inspire and help others. Eileen, Michael and I will use every penny we received from our settlement with the last rehab Shaina was in, along with any additional money donated, to make sure we bring Shaina’s vision to fruition. After all, it was Shaina’s Wish.

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7件のコメント


ゲスト
2023年3月20日

Eileen, Steve, and michael. I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter and sister Shaina 😥. I only ever knew of her through loving words passed on to me by a few. Thank you for sharing her story, i know it was hard sharing. See, i to am an addict with only a short amount of time under my belt in my sobriety. I really hope that you don't mind me sharing Shaina's Story to do my part in getting it out there? What you all are doing is, in my opinion, a great thing. Bless you all

🙏🏻 🙏🏻 🙏🏻 🙏🏻,


Michael Vitolo

いいね!

ゲスト
2023年3月17日

Wow. I’m so incredibly sorry for your loss and I thank you for sharing her/your story. My heart breaks for you all. That’s gut wrenching. 💜

いいね!

ゲスト
2023年3月16日

What a beautiful blog to bring awareness to this growing epidemic in our world ! Yes not all rehabs are alike and people need to investigate them before putting our loved ones in them ! Beautiful Shaina who I loved so much,was taken way to early from this earthly world ,but was taken to a place where their is no longer pain and suffering ,into the open arms of Jesus ,and how glorious that must be as we get glimpses of this in Gods Word! But that is grief for those left behind ,Steve,Eileen and Micheal, and to share Shainas story will hopefully bring you all a little comfort ! Just knowing you will help others in this same situation…

いいね!
ゲスト
2023年3月16日
返信先

Doreen Palm

いいね!

ゲスト
2023年3月16日

Thank you so much for having the courage to share Shaina's story. The strength of your resolve to turn this tragedy into a positive mission is so admirable and inspirational. I miss my dear friend and remember this tragic day as if it were yesterday. While time cannot heal all wounds, I hope your family has found comfort amongst each other and in your memories of Shaina as well as some peace by moving forward with this foundation. I love you all dearly!


~Macaiah "Kai" & Family



いいね!
Shaina's Wish
Shaina's Wish
6月10日
返信先

Thank you Kai. Shaina absolutely adored you and it always puts a smile on our faces when we look at pictures of the two of you together. We love you very much and hope you and your family are well!

いいね!

ゲスト
2023年3月15日

Shaina was a beautiful soul and I feel blessed to have known her. Thank you for sharing her story. This selfless act will indeed help others. You don’t know what you don’t know - but when your eyes are opened it’s so hard to not see it. Amazing how helpful it is to know about these facilities. Shaina’s Wish will undoubtedly save someone, I am certain!

いいね!
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