Pubdate: Fri, 1 Jan 2010
Source: Dumfries & Galloway Standard (UK)
Contact:  2010 Scottish & Universal Newspapers Limited
Author: Craig Robertson


A Dumfries woman who was plunged into the misery of drug abuse at the age
of just 13 is the latest police weapon in the war against illegal

Tracy, as she wishes to be known, is going into schools to try and shock
youngsters with her story which saw her take cannabis, cocaine, Valium,
ecstasy and heroin before entering rehab at 21 years old.

Police substance misuse officer, Detective Constable Scott Jardine, said:
"The service user's life story is not unique. Unfortunately it would be
pretty easy to find a similar story in all major towns in Dumfries and

"One of the main points that comes across to me is the fact that she had a
considerable addiction to heroin and at its worst was UKP100 to UKP150 per day
but upon asking the service user she indicates that the worst drug she
took was cannabis.

"This signifies to me that cannabis is not the harmless drug that so many
suggest it is, taking cannabis will considerably increase the chances of a
mental heath episode or change in behaviour.

"The service user is working with police and treatment agencies giving her
story to local schoolchildren in Dumfries and Galloway.

"To give you an example she went into a class load of third year pupils
who were known to be disruptive.

"Whilst giving the talk these children sat open-mouthed in silence
watching the presentation.

"This is being replicated in all schools throughout the region."

After first being offered cannabis at 13, Tracy said she began a party
lifestyle where she was taking every other illegal substance available to
her and by 15 had left home and moved in with a friend after which heroin
was presented to her.

She said: "The first time I took it, I was very ill but I kept up the
heroin for two weeks and gradually became more and more used to it, until
I could no longer last without it.

"Still without a job, the only way I could fund my habit was by
shoplifting - up to 20 times a day to get enough money.

"At my worst I was spending UKP150 a day on heroin alone, financing this by
crimes of dishonesty."

Eventually Tracy tried rehab at 18 but came out a month later and didn't
return until after her 21st birthday.

She used methadone to get her off heroin and is now looking to pursue
further education.

She added: "Taking drugs will always live with me: people staring at me in
the streets calling me a junkie; still being barred from shops in Dumfries
because of my previous shoplifting past, but I have vowed to put the last
eight years behind me and start enjoying my life using natural highs."

Anyone looking to educate themselves on the dangers of drugs should view and

If you have issues with regards to your drug taking you can also seek
advice from Alcohol and Drug Support and Turningpoint who are based
throughout the region.

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