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Macomb woman starring as face of addiction

Brittany sharing her story of addiction to pills, heroin to keep others from becoming addicts

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Brittany, a 24-year-old woman from Macomb Township, is starring in a new public service announcement from Families Against Narcotics (FAN).

The message: Every 12 minutes someone in the U.S. dies of a prescription drug overdose, about 120 people a day.

Brittany knows how real the problem is. She was addicted to heroin.

"I always told myself, 'I'm never going to use heroin. Never. Yes I can experiment with pills, but I will never use heroin.' And then I used heroin," Brittany told Local 4.

Brittany is sharing her story because she knows it might keep someone else from making the same mistakes.

"This is not someone else's problem. These are our children, our parents and our neighbors. These drugs are in the quarterback's locker and the honor student's purse, the laborer's toolbox and the CEO's briefcase, even our grandmother's medicine cabinet," Brittany says in the PSA.

Families Against Narcotics began following a town hall meeting in 2007 after two teenagers died of heroin overdoes just a few weeks apart in the metro Detroit town of Fraser.

FAN members meet monthly to offer a safe place where people can face and learn about addictions from others who have been through it.  FAN also does community outreach to teach everyone in the community about addiction problems.

FAN aims to remove the stereotypes and stigma associated with addiction through education.  Its goal is to educate the community about the problem of prescription painkiller abuse.  It's a problem that affects all ages and has led to the increased use of heroin by young people.

Brittany is one of dozens who speaks for FAN on a regular basis at events and schools.

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"I loved heroin more than anything in the world -- my family, my sister, my friends, my boyfriend, my future -- anything," Brittany said.

Brittany's mom, Katie, is grateful her daughter is sober. She spent years trying to get her daughter clean and admits in the beginning she hid their struggle with heroin from everyone.

"You're not proud your child has become an addict. You're very ashamed of it," Katie said. "The world can be very judgmental, and when they don't know you or when it's a situation that's taboo people don't want to have anything to do with it."

Katie is proud of Brittany's recovery and sees the virtue in her daughter's message.

"I'm proud of it now and who she's become and what she's' gone through," Katie said. "I'm more proud of her for doing what she is doing than probably if she did graduate college because she fights."

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For more information on programs offered by the Families Against Narcotics, click here.