What would you do if your child was a heroin addict suffering from acute withdrawal symptoms – disintegrating in front of your eyes – while waiting for rehab treatment to start? One mother from a village in the south-west of England describes how she ended up driving her daughter to town, and paying for her to get a fix.
She was pouring with sweat, vomiting, crying, hysterical, shaking – just desperate, feeling desperately ill. I felt like I was trapped in a corner and that there was nothing else I could do. So I said to her, “Is there any way we can do this – on the street?”
She spent a good hour and a half ringing around, and people could only offer her heroin, not methadone.
That’s how we ended up in the middle of a local town with me handing over my hard-earned money to buy a drug.
The problem really started five years ago, when she was 18. She had some life changes in terms of friends going off to university and changes in a long-term relationship that she had been happy in, and then it had gone wrong. Her behaviour, her personality, started to change.
Before she had been hard-working, she had loved her horse and would ride, and all these things started to fall by the wayside. She slept a lot in the day. I kept saying to her, “What’s wrong with you?”
And then she started hanging around with people that we knew were not a good influence – older people who were using drugs. And it started to sort of click into place.
We were driving back from somewhere one day and I asked her again what was wrong with her.
And she said, “Imagine the worst thing it could be.”
I said, “Are you pregnant?” – which, when I think about it now would have been nothing. It would have been fantastic in a way if that had been the answer, because the answer was: “No, no mum. Think of the worst. Worse, much worse than that. Think of the worst thing.”
I said, “Are you a drug addict?” And she said, “Yes.”
Then she broke down, and it was heartbreaking. It was the worst day of my life.