Metro-East News

Meth addiction ‘poster girl’ from Pekin dies at 55

Before and after photos of meth addiction ‘poster girl’ Penny Wood-Rusterholz, from 1998 (left) and 2002 (right). The Pekin native died of cancer at the age of 55.
Before and after photos of meth addiction ‘poster girl’ Penny Wood-Rusterholz, from 1998 (left) and 2002 (right). The Pekin native died of cancer at the age of 55. AP Photo/Pekin Daily Times

The self-proclaimed “poster girl” for meth addiction has died of cancer at the age of 55, according to the Pekin Daily Times.

Penny Wood-Rusterholz’s before-and-after photos were used with her permission to help warn people about the effects of using methamphetamine. The before photo is from 1998; the after photo is from 2002. The two photos were used by drug clinics, probation officers and schools.

Wood-Rusterholz was arrested for drug use in 2002 and was offered a deal: She could avoid prison time if she allowed her photos to be used as a warning to others. She agreed, and her face was displayed on posters and billboards in the U.S. and Europe.

After getting clean, Wood-Rusterholz went back to school and earned degrees in sociology and drug counseling, according to the Daily Times. She also worked in a residential home in Pekin and at a video gaming outlet.

Kaley Johnson: 618-239-2526, @KaleyJohnson6

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