12:13pm PT by Michele Amabile Angermiller
Richie Sambora Addresses New Jersey Heroin Crisis, Debuts New Song (Video)
Richie Sambora returned to his home state of New Jersey to address the ongoing heroin crisis in Ocean County.
Speaking before a crowd of 5,000 people at the Pine Belt Arena in Toms River, Sambora eloquently shared his own story of addiction before debuting a new song, "Lighthouse," in a four-hour long forum discussing ways to combat the local drug problem, reports The Asbury Park Press.
"For me, it was not only a mental thing, but a physical thing," the guitarist said. "And it’s also ongoing -- I still work at it all the time. I don't think that you stop."
Sambora acknowledged that "the music business has its pitfalls, and I was lucky enough to survive, and be alive," but other friends weren't so blessed. "There is no getting out alive on this one."
Although he said he has first-hand experience that does not include heroin usage, he wants to do what he can to help others struggling to get clean. "I've been a blessed guy," he said. "I've had a charmed life. Take a look. You’ve all read about me in the tabloids … but you've got to give back when you can. And you know what? The opportunity to give back is such a gift."
Sambora's appearance was the third in a series of anti-drug forum events led by Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato, who has enforced the use of drug-sniffing dog searches at local high schools, urged state legislators to enact harsher punishments for heroin distribution and helped bring the opiate antidote
Sambora's new song lyrics speak directly to the problem: "Once upon a time, peer pressure crossed a line/Our kids ain't needing needles anymore." Watch the video below: