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Aug 8, 2015 10:54 PM

Vigil remembers teen who lost battle with heroin addiction


CONCORD - She was a superstar throughout high school and graduated at the top of her class. But Jessica McCassie had a secret - she was addicted to heroin.

It was an addiction that would ultimately kill her. She crashed her grandmother's car on June 7 while driving home from Manchester on Route 101.

Her outspoken aunt, Audrey Musso, said her niece had just purchased heroin and couldn't even wait to get home before she got high.

“In a year and a half, she went completely downhill," Musso said. "This was her third accident.”

A candlelit vigil was held at the N.H. Statehouse on Saturday evening to remember the Fremont teen.

The 19-year-old's parents and sister held a framed portrait of their lost loved one just footsteps away from where legislators meet each session. They chose this location for their vigil as they propose a new bill titled "Jessie's Law."

The bill is backed by an online petition that calls for increased funding for addiction treatment and recovery programs.

It will be presented at the next legislative session, supported by State Rep. Max Abramson, who was present at Saturday's vigil.

For McCassie's family, the pain is still strong. It's still so hard for them to believe she is gone.

“Anger. Rage. And the love I felt for her," said Joshua Pagan, McCassie's friend. "It’s been the most traumatic and difficult time. It’s just been not easy.”

Supporters of "Jessie's Law" and the fight against heroin also attended, calling for more government action.

“We’re losing way too many people because there’s not enough help out there for them right now," said Shannon Fay, who identified herself as a family friend.

The vigil started at 7 p.m., included multiple speakers and gained the attendance of several dozen.

McCassie's family, who has been extremely outspoken since the teen's death, hoped the vigil would bring public awareness to the reality of the heroin epidemic in the Granite State.


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