Effects on family | Feelings / stages | Heroin addiction stories – My Treatment My Choice

Effects on family | Feelings / stages | Heroin addiction stories – My Treatment My Choice


Now heroin, of course, is always a significant drug and it’s a scary drug. I remember my reaction was ‘oh my God he’s going to die’, I mean that’s just what you think Tragically for me that’s what happened but in reality it’s still only a minority of people who actually die but it is that scary kind of drug that everybody thinks is the worst. So I think if people are using heroin and the parents find out it is normal and natural for them to have a bit of a panic reaction. But again I think it’s really important just to find out more and to realise that there are a lot of people in the world who try heroin, and some have tried it for quite an extended period and do then give it up. Only one in seven people who practice become dependent on it and even if you’re one of the one in seven it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. Now having said that it can be a long rocky ride if people do become dependent on heroin. In Australia one in three heroin dependent people do die from overdose. One in three never give it up and so spend the rest of their lives using it and obviously that has consequences and the one in three who does recover on average it takes them 15 years and several attempts at treatment. I don’t give those statistics to scare people but it is the reality if dependency occurs. So I think we have to acknowledge that heroin is still probably the number one drug in terms of the impact it has on both the drug user and the family. I’ve never really seen anybody become dependent on drugs because of something the family has done or hasn’t done. I think it’s really important that families understand that it is normal to feel that guilt but it’s really important that they don’t stay there, that they move on from that and realise that whatever their circumstances they’re never probably going to know exactly why and even knowing exactly why won’t help anyway. What you’ve got to deal with is the issue of the drugs not why it happened. Drug dependence is like any other chronic relapsing condition, so in dealing with it medically it’s no different to asthma, to multiple sclerosis, to leukaemia, to any of those conditions where people have an illness and lapse back into the illness. Of course there is always then the argument that they chose to do it in the first place and that is right and I still to this day think that my son made stupid choices and bad decisions and I am quite angry at him for doing that. However, once dependency is the thing we’re dealing with choice doesn’t really come into it anymore. It is the disease that drives them. If people can get away from the media hype and the political simplicity then I think we can teach them that in fact it is a complicated and complex issue and there are no simple answers and even though drug users might be modern day lepers and therefore the family are guilty by association that we can break that barrier down if we stand up and we talk about it. A lot of people when you say family, think parents, think partners. Your family is who you are close to. That may be your blood relatives but it may be somebody else. Whoever you are and whatever you’re doing you will have people who are close to you they are who I regard as your family and I think it’s really important that you continue to have contact and support from those people and to value that support and to do your best to return what they give you and therefore not to break their trust and not to string them along and to try and be honest and open with them.

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