PARKERSBURG, WV (WOWK) – A local woman has caught international headlines after sharing her story of addiction. Melissa Matos posted graphic pictures of her lowest point as a heroin addict and the post went viral. Now she’s taking that platform to help other addicts get into treatment.

Melissa Matos says addiction can happen to anyone. The New Jersey native had the picture perfect life- a loving husband, two beautiful daughters and a nice home, but addiction to pain pills spiraled out of control. 

“I was at a point where I literally lost every possession I ever had, I lost my home, I lost my family, I lost myself as a person,” Matos explained.

Matos didn’t start using heroin right away. She was prescribed opioid for back pain after her second daughter. When the doctor wouldn’t give her more pills, a friend suggested heroin. 

“I honestly was at that point where I would rather die because I did not think that life was meant for me. I did not think I could be happy. I did not think I could live without putting a needle in my arm all day,” Matos added.

Matos said it was her daughters that ultimately pushed her to detox, and get her life back on track. 

“I knew I had to get better because I had gotten to the point where I knew I was at risk of losing them for the rest of my life. And I couldn’t deal with that thought,” Matos told 13 News.

Matos is being called the “dead girl walking” after posting zombie-like pictures of her high on heroin. An ex-boyfriend, also a heroin user, snapped the photos at the time hoping to convince her to get clean. 

“The pictures made no difference. And then he just recently had sent them to me, actually the same day I decided to put up that post, he had sent me the pictures to remind me and show me how far I had come,” Matos explained.

She made the bold move to post the transformation pictures. While there were some hateful comments, Matos has now received hundreds of Facebook messages from across the globe. 

“The most amazing part is all the people that felt so lost, that felt that they could not get help that are now reaching out for help because of seeing that and understanding if I can do it- you can do it,” Matos said.

Just in the last few weeks, Matos also started working for the White Oak Run Treatment center as an ambassador. 13 News got a sneak peak of the facility, which opens Thursday morning.

The 80 bed, in-patient facility offers housing, meals and recreation while addicts recover. Many staff members are in recovery themselves, and can’t wait to start helping West Virginians in need. 

“We are getting crushed up here to the drug epidemic and it is absolutely horrifying to see what has been going on so we need a lot of beds available so that is what we got for the level of care that we have here in the clinical program that we are using is top notch, we are really excited about opening up and running,” Rich Walters said.