Event educates on heroin, prescription drug use - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Event educates on heroin, prescription drug use

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MARSHFIELD (WAOW) -

Authorities say heroin is a fast growing problem right here in central Wisconsin.

Nineteen year old Ashley Matteson started using drugs when she was 14.

"It was, I would say, a good combination of peer pressure and just curiosity, experimentation," said Matteson.

Alcohol and marijuana use eventually led her to heroin when she was only 17.

"After I got comfortable with the fact that I was actually shooting up, after it didn't bother me anymore, and I actually wanted to shoot up everything multiple times a day. That's when I knew it was time to get treatment," said Matteson.

Matteson has been sober for nearly a year. She's sharing her experience as part of an event to educate people about the dangers of heroin and prescription drug abuse. It's sponsored by the Marshfield Area Coalition for Youth.

"As crazy as we all might want to think that is, it happens every single day, and if we don't do something about it and don't make it okay, we're going to be a part of the problem, not a part of the solution," said Jesse Jackson, Marshfield Area Coalition for Youth Chair.

Officials say it's hard for parents to believe heroin and prescription drugs are a problem in Marshfield.

According to a youth risk behavior survey, almost 6 percent of Marshfield High School students have misused painkillers in the last month, and nearly 3 percent have used heroin.

Matteson know what those students are going through. She hopes that by overcoming her addiction, she can help others do the same.

"Getting people the information that they need, it could save lives. I mean, addiction is a disease, and it could ruin someone's life very quickly, and I think that getting my story out there could hopefully help someone else."

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