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Funeral Industry Tapped For ‘Scared Straight’ Programs

Nothing can illustrate the ravages of addiction more than a casket with a loved one inside. And tragically, these instances are happening more and more thanks to the surge of overdose deaths caused by America’s opioid crisis. In a drastic attempt to educate users about the dangers of this habit, many funeral directors are now participating in “Scared Straight” programs with the hopes of offering a very harsh reality check.


New York funeral director Kevin Moran is one of the leaders of this movement. His parlor has seen more than its share of OD fatalities, which led him to seek out “Scared Straight” and offer his services at high schools and seminars.


One of Moran’s more effective tactics is to roll out a lengthy scroll of death certificates, which describe the ages and manors that his countless addicted “clients” lost their lives. Tragically many of them were barely out of school themselves and, as Moran describes, nearly destroyed their loved ones with their dependencies. His lectures often include stories about parents hitting the bodies in the caskets in a fit of anger and frustration. Losing someone in such a senseless way is something many families can never truly get over.


“I am the one person you never want to meet,” Moran begins his ‘Scared Straight’ speech with. “And I will do whatever I can to hopefully prevent somebody else from going down this road. Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do for the person who died. My job now is to help the living.”


Indeed, these funeral visits are becoming very effective for attendees of the “Scared Straight” sessions. Many audience members erupt into tears, while others are asked to get up and read from the death certificate scrolls. Moran’s meetings, in particular, usually wind up at capacity and tend to go viral via social media messages and postings.


After the lecture, speakers like Moran will participate in Q&A’s and go into the emotional funerals opioid victims tend to have. However, that’s not all. The newer opioid-focused “Scared Straight” experiences also feature users who were formerly jailed for their habits and those who have gone through physical trauma because of their addictions.


We understand that this method of recovery awareness isn’t pretty, but in the many years that “Scared Straight” has been in practice it has certainly proven to be effective. And, in our opinion, opioid users (particularly young ones) need to know just how fatal a dependency like this can be.