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Mum posts remarkable before and after photos to send a powerful message about addiction.

A former drug addict has shared a series of confronting images of herself during the worst periods of her dependency in the hope of helping others.

“I have NEVER shared these before. I’m not sure I ever intended to. This is extremely hard for me in so many ways. However, too many people are dying. I have friends who need to see this,” West Virginian mother Melissa Lee Matos wrote in a Facebook post earlier this week.

heroin addict parents
Matos during the height of her addiction. Source: Facebook.

"My name is Melissa, and I'm an addict. I have been clean and in recovery for just about a year and five months. Below, you will find extremely disturbing images of me while in active addiction."

Included in the post was four images of the now-clean mum looking sickly pale, her face covered with bumps and scabs, and coming in and out of consciousness.

Listen: 2017 is the year that women are talking about their drug addictions. Post continues... 

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"This was what I looked like, daily, for years. This is what my husband dealt with. This is what my little girls walked in on. This is what my family and friends saw, on the rare occasions I left the house. I was SICK. I was DYING. I was so far gone I thought I could NEVER recover. I was so lost I couldn't imagine a life without using. I just wanted to die. I didn't realise I was hardly alive," she continued.

"If you are currently in active addiction, this is my plea to you. Look at these pictures. Images of a dead girl. A needle junkie with a habit so fierce she spent days and nights in a self induced coma on her bathroom floor. A girl who would spend every cent on dope and forget she had kids to feed and take care of. A girl who lost every single thing she ever had. A girl who was so sick she thought she would never ever find a way out, until she did."

Finally, the writer and social advocate concluded, "My name is Melissa. I am a RECOVERED addict. Share with me your darkness, and I'll lead you towards the light. I love you all."

Alongside the images were photos of her looking healthy and happy today.

Since sharing her story, Melissa's post has been shared close to 50,000 times and received almost 15,000 comments. She's also been contacted by 75 people who are currently experiencing drug addiction and want to seek help.

heroin addict parents
Matos today. She says there is always hope and help. Source: Facebook.

"You are extremely strong to recover but have even more strength to share this and be there to help others. Enjoy you're new life, stay strong," one supporter wrote.

If you or someone you know is experiencing drug addiction, help is available via Lifeline on 13 11 14. 

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