Home Affairs Committee - Drugs: Breaking the CycleWritten evidence submitted by Joanne Luker (DP191)

Please solve the problem with drug use in the UK and how unless you are rich enough to pay £650 upwards per week in rehab fees for three to six months, there is very little help because of lack of funding.

My son is 23 and has been addicted to hard drugs for about four years. It took us about three months to get him on a Suboxone script to stop him taking heroin. We had no support from our family doctor as they didn’t want to know and refused to prescribe him anything except an inhaler because of the damage he had done to his chest.

Eventually after research on the internet we managed to get him to a substance misuse centre; each centre has one doctor that visits weekly and each doctor has literally hundreds of patients on their books. My son would turn up to his appointments, get turned away, and told to come back. No one has time to return calls; everyone there is agitated because they’re all desperate to pick up their script (which is nothing more than a free stronger drug to the addict). The addicts are given their scripts and can have counselling only if they want it.

None of this was helping my son as he was still using so we took my son to France for six weeks and managed to get him off drugs.

He came home and because drugs are easily accessible he went straight back onto them. He is now on a methadone script of 60ml and has been told all he has to do is phone up every three days and the doctor will up his script by 10ml. As well as taking meth my son is injecting £70 a day of heroin, smoking crack four to five days a week and taking 40 valium, plus smoking dope. I have begged his drug doctors to put him into rehab before he is dead or in prison but have been told that there are not enough beds nor funding, there are thousands of people waiting for rehab and the ones that are close to death will get a bed. They advised that the best I can hope for is my son is arrested and locked up, then he will get the help he needs. I have pleaded with my doctor to lock him up under the mental health act because of the dangerous things he does to get drugs but are told “sorry not if it’s drink or drug related”.

The government will continue to pay for the addicts to have methadone everyday for the next 20 years while the addicts continue to use, commit millions of pounds of crime to pay for their drugs, they are unable to work and live on benefits for the majority of their lives.

Yet there is not enough money to provide beds to detox the addicts and provide them with the counselling they need to help them stay clean which in the long term must save them money.

I have even provided the police with drug dealer’s names, phone numbers and addresses yet still nothing is done, they still continue dealing. I even offered the police my sons mobile where drug dealers keep hounding him offering him drugs, so the police could meet them but they weren’t interested and I was told they weren’t allowed.

I can’t afford to pay for my son to go into drug rehab and this is the same nightmare for other families in the same position, all I can hope for is that my son is locked up in prison before he is dead.

May 2012

Prepared 8th December 2012