How do I say goodbye to a man who not only changed my world, but the whole world?

There is never an easy way to say goodbye to someone you love, especially someone as remarkable as my stepdad, Dr. Jack Fishman, who passed away this weekend. Jack was like a father to me, after having lost my own father at a very young age. I used to tease Jack that he treated me just like one of his own children by making sure I was always ok and taken care of, by loving my children, and by yelling at me for just about anything. I would yell back and then we would laugh. That was love. That was Jack. Jack was filled with charm, filled with compassion, filled with brilliance, filled with enough cantankerousness to overflow the Hudson, it’s what made him special. Always humble and never wanting to really talk about his breakthroughs in scientific research, Jack Fishman, managed to change the world for the better, and forever. Jack is a legend in the medical world. Mention the drug that he invented, Naloxone, and any doctor or nurse or studied medical professional will know it. Naloxone is an opiate antagonist, which is a really fancy way of saying that it will reverse the effects of opiates in the system in the case of an overdose. Naloxone has saved countless lives across the globe and there is a push now to make the drug widely available and easily accessible to everyone, not just medical professionals. That’s why saying goodbye to Jack is almost impossible because he will be remembered every time Naloxone is used, which is every day. Jack had become fairly quiet in the last few months and any conversation with him was usually short but always meaningful. He never missed a chance to tell me how wonderful my mom was, and how beautiful she is, and how much he loved her. One of our last talks was quintessential Jack. He was going on about my mom and said to me “Your mother is so good.” I replied with “I know, but what about me?” And he smiled and said “You’re getting good.” That was Jack, and that is why I loved him and will miss him every day.


Stay well.

By | 2013-12-09T10:40:26-04:00 December 9th, 2013|Life|17 Comments


  1. mendy katz December 9, 2013 at 11:55 am - Reply

    Jack was a very special person. He was kind , compassionate , loving and brilliant . He made everyone fell so accepted and comfortable. He was very charitable in a very quiet way. He did not want the recognition. He just wanted to help people. A very humble and deeply religious person in a very private way. His most important decision in life was picking his wife Joy. Joy brought him true love and happiness and nothing is more important than that

  2. Matt Curtis December 9, 2013 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this. I’ve been an advocate and trainer for community naloxone access going back to my involvement in setting up the first program in NYC in 2003, and later helping set up overdose prevention services in the former Soviet Union and Southeast Asia. There’s been much appreciation of Dr. Fishman today in the harm reduction community as we heard of his passing. I can assure you that, whether they knew his name or not, there are tens of thousands of Americans that have been touched by his pioneering, lifesaving work.

    • totemtamers December 9, 2013 at 5:00 pm - Reply

      Your efforts are amazing Matt! Thank you for your kind words about my stepdad, he was a remarkable man.

  3. Betty Mash Ferron December 9, 2013 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    So sorry for your loss & your Mom Joy. I did not know Jack very well, all I know he that he was very special. Your mom always spoke so highly of him. He was wonderful to her & I love him for that. He will be missed.
    Betty Ferron

  4. Kathie Kane-Willis December 18, 2013 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    We have so many comments and posts from people who are so THANKFUL and blessed that your stepfather was in this world. How can we possibly send them along? We are so grateful and we do what we can every day to encourage people to save lives using naloxone. <3 Is there a good way to send these tributes along? Thanks so much!

    • totemtamers December 18, 2013 at 6:49 pm - Reply

      Wow Kathie!! I know the family would love to see them. You can certainly forward them to me at, or message me there and we can figure something out. Thank you so much, it has been incredible and so comforting to hear all the amazing stories and it will only help as we miss his presence so much. Julie

  5. David fishman May 27, 2014 at 10:28 am - Reply

    Hi Julie
    I just read your piece about our cosin jack. I reviewed his story, after reading today in the ny times that the police will be carrying packs of naloxone to help overdosed addicts and save their lives. No mention of crediting the individual , responsible for this monumental breakthrough.
    With me Jack is still very present and alive, and will always be remembered the way I saw him.
    In fact I just viewed for the second time the video he made 7 years ago.
    Please share this with your mom Joy, and tell her she is not alone in grieving for our beloved Jack.
    My very best
    My email is

    • totemtamers May 28, 2014 at 11:41 am - Reply

      Oh David, it is so bittersweet that Jack isn’t here to see the advances being made with Naloxone. Your words are beautiful and comforting and thank you for sharing. Jack’s presence will always be felt and his contributions to the world of medicine will be evident for centuries. Stay well. Julie

  6. […] that he yelled at me just like a father would, he would smile, and then yell “No!”  He’s gone now too, and that makes me sad, but thankful for the many memories I have, and that every day his […]

  7. […] and all the progress that has been made in the war against the war on drugs, as well as making sure Naloxone (a life-saving drug invented by my Stepfather) gets in to the hands of all first responders. Mr. Flom was a great host as he charmed the crowd […]

  8. Of love and loss. | totemtamers October 26, 2014 at 11:49 am - Reply

    […] to do a Naloxone training. Naloxone is an antidote to overdose, and it happened to be created by my stepfather, Jack Fishman. Sharon and Bill from HRC, showed up and shared some of their knowledge and armed anyone who […]

  9. […] continue to do for lifetimes to come is unfathomable. I wrote about Jack two days after he passed,…, I actually can’t even read it, but if you want to know more about him, please feel free. […]

  10. […] helped save so many, yet it is difficult to get, and expensive at that. I even get to say that my stepfather helped formulate this wonder drug. However, I also get to say that Naloxone wasn’t available to save my […]

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