TOMS RIVER, N.J. — Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora drew on his own past in debuting a song at a New Jersey forum on drug abuse.

Tuesday night’s event at a high school arena was aimed at raising awareness about the abuse of heroin and prescription painkillers along the Jersey shore.

A New Jersey native, Sambora unveiled a song he wrote called “Lighthouse,” about providing hope to people mired in addiction. He acknowledged he once abused drugs, but said he’s clean now.

“I got firsthand experience,” he told reporters before the event. “I never did heroin but obviously I did other stuff.”

The track included the lines: “Those who matter don’t judge/When you’re swimming with the tide in the wake of a flood.”

He told the crowd of 4,000 (with another 1,000 watching from an overflow video monitor room) that he is as scared as the parents who packed the arena. “I’m mostly here as the father of a 16-year-old girl,” Sambora said. “I’m scared … But we can’t be scared silent. Together we can make a difference because this epidemic has to stop.”

“Lighthouse” will be sold on iTunes, with proceeds going toward a drug treatment facility envisioned for somewhere in the region, Sambora said.

Backed by a children’s choir, Sambora also performed the Bill Withers classic “Lean On Me.”