Family of addict writes blunt obituary, begs for more prevention help

Updated: Mar. 23, 2021 at 6:45 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - It’s a story of addiction brought to us through an obituary that was raw and honest. Lisha Skeldon’s family wrote that she was a thief, a liar, and an addict. They wrote, “Addiction is not a word that should forever define or encapsulate Lisha” and, “In spite of her best efforts, in the end, Lisha was not equipped to endure the struggles she endured on her path of self-destruction.”

7 News sat down with the family who wrote the obituary and shares their cry for help to bring more addiction prevention services to the north country.

“This is my baby. Fresh out of prison,” said Lisa Jones.

She’s talking about her daughter, Lisha Skeldon. Skeldon was always known for being a “wild child.”

“She was crazy, outspoken, sharp-tongued, and witty. Witty witty witty,” said Lisa.

But in her teenage years, she started going down a troubling path.

From age 15, Lisha was in and out of juvenile detention, prison, and drug rehabilitation facilities. She became addicted to opioids and, with that, came lying, stealing, and more.

As Lisha was being released from her most recent prison sentence on March 8, her family knew she wasn’t ready. They asked officials to keep her, but they sent her home.

March 10, just two days later, Lisa got the call she was dreading.

“She said, ‘She OD’ed,” and my first words were, ‘I’m not surprised,’” said Lisa.

Lisha died two days after her release, leaving behind three children. She was 28 years old.

“A lot of people loved Lisha. She touched so many people,” said Ashley Miller, Lisha’s sister.

Lisha may have lost her battle, but her family says they won’t stop fighting addiction in the north country. They say it starts with increasing education on the matter, and bringing in more programs for people like Lisha.

“I know it’s hard in Watertown to find anything; the waiting list is crazy. Drugs don’t wait. Drugs do not wait. You can find drugs way faster than you can find the help,” said Lisa.

“There’s a lot of people out doing hard work, but with the right funding, there’s a whole lot more that can be done to help individuals with education about addiction. Getting education for people like that would be very beneficial to our community,” said Anthony Matthews, Watertown Urban Mission Bridge Program director.

Lisha’s family says they hope their loss can show people that addiction is serious and it’s right here in our backyards.

“This is what happens, this is what your life turns into. This is all I have left,” said Lisa.

“There needs to be more out there - another step for addicts coming out,” said Ashley.

They say they’re going to fight harder than ever for addiction prevention because although it is too late for Lisha, it’s not too late for others.

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