Rachel Whitear - who had 10 GCSEs and two A-levels - died at the age of 21 after using more heroin than her body could cope with.
She also went to university but dropped out after a term, and moved to Exmouth, where she died from the overdose.
Her body wasn't found for three days.
The photograph taken at the time of Rachel's death shows her with bruised flesh because of the drugs, and also shows a syringe in her hand.
Rachel's parents said it was a difficult decision to release the photo, but they hope that by doing so that it might help others not to turn to drugs.