Ex-addict reveals her desperation at Chippenham drug awareness meeting
Drug addicts needing treatment can now expect to wait just five days – down from a nine weeks wait in 2001.
The help at hand, and the importance of using education to prevent addiction before it begins, were the main messages of Chippenham Drugs Awareness Week organised by councillor Bill Douglas and Wiltshire Council.
A survey done by a youth group ahead of the week highlighted the need for information at an earlier age. Mr Douglas presented the results at a mobile unit on the town bridge on Friday and Saturday.
“Every young person I asked said the same thing, even in front of their mother – they thought the result of two thirds of youths having tried drugs was a fair representation of what is going on,” he said.
Lee Gibbings, vice chair of Wiltshire Addiction Support Project (WASP), said: “I found it concerning that the young people thought cannabis was okay because it’s natural. Opiate is natural but that doesn’t make it good. My own addiction for 20 years was with cannabis.”
Lorraine Jones, lead commissioner of Children and Young Persons’ Substance Misuse, said: “It is mentioned in primary school in the context of all round safety, but what we’re seeing here is that they need to go into more detail at this early age.”
Salvia Mucha was one of about 120 people who called in to an information meeting at the town hall on Monday. She stressed the importance of education by parents as well as teachers. She wanted to ask Turning Point, who will provide Wiltshire’s drugs services from next month, how to use her own experience of addiction to help others.
Ms Mucha, 60, who lives off Hungerdown Lane in Chippenham, had an abusive childhood and started drinking at age 14.
She said: “I drank for 25 years solid, like a fish, morning, noon and night, anything I could get hold of.
“I self-medicated with alcohol so I couldn’t see the agony of what anti-psychotics were doing to me. With street drugs you get all the help, but not with prescription drugs. I had no emotions, no sensations, nothing human. I talk a lot now because for 25 years I wasn’t able to verbalise.”
Ms Mucha has not had a drink for six months.
She said: “It was a really informative meeting, I was surprised to learn so much help is out there. My message is never give up hope.”
WASP holds a support group in the Salvation Army hall at Foghamshire, Chippenham on Tuesdays at 7pm, and at 22 High Street, Calne on Mondays at 7pm.