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Footsteps charity: 'More than 4,000 in St Helens battling drug abuse'
6:00am Friday 28th March 2014 in News
THE scale of drugs misuse in the town was underlined at a meeting that discussed the vital role a charity plays in helping families blighted by addiction.
Footsteps, which supports relatives and carers of users, revealed latest reports show there are 4,185 adults in the borough affected by drug abuse.
The borough also ranks 32nd highest in the UK for hospital admissions relating to alcohol abuse.
The efforts of the charity were praised by members of affected families at a gathering last Thursday at The Beacon, in College Street.
Footsteps founder member and service co-ordinator Jan Hickling told an audience how many St Helens families try to keep their problems hidden.
She said: “Families who live in ordinary streets are coping with the most extraordinary things when loved ones are drinking or are on drugs.
“Many families cope for years before they will accept help.
“Most families access us at crisis point. We know that thousands of families will cope and never make that call for help.
“People who are addicted are not bad people, they have just made the wrong decision or choice. They are trapped in a cycle and it is very hard to find a way out.”
One mother, who was grateful for the support she received from Footsteps, explained how her son had become an heroin addict, then gone on methadone but turned to alcohol to combat the side effects.
At one stage he was drinking nine litres of cider a day.
She said: “He tried to kill himself and ended up in hospital because of damage to his liver.
“He made my life a misery, I was called 22 times to A & E and on 18 of those occasions he’d taken cocodemol.
“He doesn’t live, he exists. I was on an emotional rollercoaster all the time. Footsteps has been absolutely marvellous and thanks to it, I have started to rebuild my life again.”
Mayor of St Helens Cllr Andy Bowden, an invited guest at the meeting, praised the charity’s work.
He said: “Footsteps brings support and value to families and individuals. This is happening because of the hard work of Footsteps and the volunteers involved.
“Thank you for the work you do and the care that you show. I value what I’ve heard today.”
For free confidential support, call Footsteps on 01744 808212, or visit footstepsforfamilies.org.
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