Obituary encourages discussion about addiction

Posted on: April 8th, 2016

JACKSON TWP. Scott Robinson had a distinctive laugh.

It accompanied a wide grin and sometimes woke his mother at their Jackson Township home.

“He just would laugh so loud, it made you happy,” Janet Robinson said.

The “Scotty laugh,” as his family called it, was silenced on March 24. The 34-year-old’s official cause of death is pending toxicology results at the Stark County Coroner’s Office, but Robinson’s family cites an “accidental prescription drug overdose” in a heartfelt obituary that has encouraged others to tell their stories.

It urged people not to judge those struggling with addiction, stating: “We need to speak up about the epidemic tearing apart families and destroying our communities.”

Janet Robinson said she didn’t write her son’s obituary as a spokeswoman and doesn’t agree with readers who’ve called her brave for being open. She just didn’t want to feel ashamed.

“It’s the truth,” she said. “And if you don’t say what it was, people think it anyway. And if you say it, then, maybe more people will pay attention.”

Too many young adults recently have “died unexpectedly,” Robinson said.


The number of deaths in Stark County from unintentional opiate overdoses rose from 16 in 2005 to 59 in 2014, according to recent reports.

The Stark County Coroner’s Office reported the total number of unintentional drug overdoses climbed from 45, with 20 related to heroin or fentanyl, in 2013 to 75, with 46 related to heroin or fentanyl, in 2015.

It’s important to remember that each person who succumbed to addiction is someone’s loved one, Robinson said.

Her son was remembered as an old soul, flea-market aficionado who collected miniature porcelain cats; and a body builder who won third place in the 2010 National Amateur Bodybuilders Association championship in Canton.

“He was just a different character,” she said.


Scott worked as a kidney dialysis technician in Akron before becoming a medical assistant at a medical center in Canton Township. Beloved by his family as well as patients and coworkers, he inspired loving tributes online and in a moving service.

“Scott hated his disease,” Pastor Ryan Rasmussen wrote for last week’s service at Paquelet-Falk. “But if you’re familiar with addiction, you know very well the grip it can have on one’s life, sometimes so strong, that in the end, it takes it.”

A doctor at a separate practice prescribed Scott anxiety medication and painkillers for a back injury caused by bodybuilding, Robinson said. She shared his story in the hopes it might warn others to be wary of prescription drugs and encourage people to seek help.

“Everybody knows somebody who’s having issues, and it’s usually the prescription drug,” she said.

Two rehabilitation clinics have asked to use her son’s obituary in their classes.

Robinson said Scott’s co-workers plan to plant a tree in the family’s yard. They’ll also memorialize him in their office with a photo and quote of his: “There have been times that I’ve wondered why God doesn’t send his angels to help us when we need them the most. But I realized today that sometimes you just have to be one.”