Boarding school pupil became addicted to drugs as teenager

Mother cannot understand why State does not provide drug rehabilitation programme

The mother of a drug addict told Liveline she had bought methadone (above) on the street for her son. “It’s absolutely horrible, but he is my son.” File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

The mother of a drug addict told Liveline she had bought methadone (above) on the street for her son. “It’s absolutely horrible, but he is my son.” File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

 

A 28-year-old man who became a drug addict while in boarding school will commit more crimes when he is released from prison unless he gets treatment, his mother has said.

The man, who is currently serving a five-month prison sentence, first took drugs at boarding school at the age of 14.

His mother, who gave her name on Radio 1’s Liveline as Mary, said drugs changed her son from a “happy, contented, good humoured athletic boy” to a “sullen, aggressive and everything-negative child”.

She told the programme her son has asked to go into rehabilitation as soon as he gets out of prison, but there are no public places available for him.

Separate assessments

Four separate assessments by counsellors have shown he is a drug addict who needs treatment, she explained.

However, his chances of getting treatment are “very slim” as there is a six- to seven-month wait to see a drug counsellor.

Instead, his family will have to pay between €350 and €400 a day for a private bed in an addiction clinic, a sum she says the family cannot afford as they stopped paying his private health insurance when he was 22.

His mother told presenter Joe Duffy her son had been in and out of jail for 10 years as a result of robbery offences to feed his habit. He is addicted to both illegal and prescription drugs.

‘Unbelievable damage’

“This is the first time that he has pleaded with us to get him help,” she said. “He has done unbelievable damage to his family, his friends and to everyone he comes into contact with when he is on drugs.”

She said she did not understand why the State, which was paying an average of €69,000 year for him to stay in jail, could not provide a State-funded drug rehabilitation programme when he left.

“There is something wrong with a system which is paying €69,000 per year to keep a drug addict in jail, instead of providing treatment to deal with the addiction,” she said.

“The State has spent €600,000 on keeping him in jail. I can’t understand the maths of it. I have no doubt he will be back in in two to three weeks.”

His mother said she had bought methadone on the street for her son. “It’s absolutely horrible, but he is my son. I would do anything I can to help him because I know he is a good person at the back of it all.”