Story by: Matt Hunter

Featured on Time Warner Cable News

Link to full article can be found at:

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Growing up in Ballston Spa, Maigan Richardson dabbled with alcohol and marijuana when she was in high school but never considered herself much of a partier.

“I never really enjoyed any of that,” Richardson said. “I just did it because that’s what everybody else was doing.”

Sharing her story with a crowd of parents at Saratoga Springs High School Tuesday night, the 26-year-old recounted fracturing vertebrae in her neck and back her senior year of high school.

“That’s really how my love affair with opiates started, from the prescription painkillers,” said Richardson, who says doctors never shared with her the dangers associated with taking opiate painkillers.

Initially taking them as prescribed, she soon developed a physical dependence that lasted long after her medical care ended.

“I couldn’t find anyone that had prescription painkillers so I went to someone who said that they had something that was going to make me feel better,” said Richardson, who says her pill addiction lasted roughly two years.

“Honestly, at the time I didn’t really have a care for what it was and that was when I was first introduced to heroin.”

With the Centers for Disease Control reporting the number of heroin overdoses doubling across America over a three-year period, Richardson’s story is one shared by many nationally and in the Capital Region.

“We have an epidemic that is affecting the Northeast and it is affecting Saratoga Springs as well,” said Robin Lyle, director of coalition development at the Saratoga-based Prevention Council.

Tuesday’s “Parent University” event, which was orchestrated by the Prevention Council, was meant to raise awareness and provide community members resources.

“We want to alert parents as to what they can do to be very proactive,” Lyle said.

Richardson’s battle with heroin abuse didn’t lead to sobriety until a 2011 arrest.

“I was doing a number of different things to feed my habit and I ended up in jail,” said Richardson, who admitted to writing bad checks and stealing and selling her mother’s engagement ring in order to fund her addiction. “Thank God I did because that’s how I got sober.”

Three-and-a-half-year’s clean, Richardson’s honest and raw account is not meant to scare those listening. As long as it’s enough to prevent at least one future addict, she plans to keep sharing it.

“I am incredibly grateful that I was given an opportunity to be able to find a solution and find my way out of it,” she said.