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Nellie Knows : The Wokingham Paper : March 2019

Imagine being 18, on a night out and you see someone lying on the pavement? What do you do? Well if you were like the vast majority of passers by you would do just that you would just pass by. For one kind hearted teenager doing nothing wasn’t an option. She called an ambulance and the young man was carted off to hospital and hopefully that evening of drug abuse and deal bags is just the wake up call that’s needed and will set him on a road to recovery. Or imagine being the parents of a young man who goes on a night out and ends up off his face, on the pavement and then in the back of an ambulance. If that was your son I hope he is safely back home. On Monday I went to Maiden Erleigh for the first evening of Parent Conferences to hear a talk by Elizabeth Burton-Phillips MBE, author of “Mum, can you lend me twenty quid” and founder of the charity DrugFam. Despite the fact I have seen and heard her talk numerous times it still gets me. Elizabeth’s twin sons were both addicted to heroin, sadly Nicholas took his own life and Elizabeth, surviving twin Simon and the family were left to pick up the pieces. The next talk is by Detective Chief Inspector Christina Berenger and is about County Lines and I urge you to go if you can. Elizabeth’s book has been turned into a play and the next performance is this Sunday in Borehamwood, details are on the DrugFam Facebook page or by searching Eventbrite DrugFam. I have known about addiction from an early age and the devastating impact it has on a family. Two of my school friends, twins, became addicts in their mid teens. I had a close friend who was a heroin addict. A friend died from alcohol addiction leading to her widower making numerous and continued attempts on his life. I was asked to be an Ambassador of DrugFam last year and I gladly accepted. Please if you can go and see the play. If you are concerned about the age appropriate content my older two saw it when they were 11 and 14 and they have read the book, my youngest read it when she was 13. There is no lower age limit to addiction, there is no social class structure to addiction, there is nothing that can convince me that taking illegal recreational drugs is good for you or your family. But there is hope and support. Drugfam is there for you, no stigma, no judging.

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