Azalee Dockings

“It’s had been so long since I’ve seen Lucile. I couldn’t wait to meet her again. We had so much to talk about; Australia, Vegas, and her new hunk she met in Prague. I couldn’t wait to see her reaction when I tell her about my new placement in Nice next year. We met at 9pm in our favourite café we used to visit in our teens, although, I was ready to go an hour early and was waiting around like a lemon. She was early too –clearly we’re both a bit eager! You can’t blame us though. Her gap year felt more like a gap decade. We ordered our regulars and chatted and chatted, as if time didn’t exist. I was sat opposite her, closely analysing her incredible stories of her travels, we were bouncing off each other like old times. In the middle of her story of the dodgy bell boy, her face dropped and she let out a shriek quicker than the crack as her coffee smashed to the ground, burning our feet. My blood ran cold as the sound of gun shots were drowned out by the cries of the café. Instinctively we fell underneath the table. A sickening spray of bullets poisoned the air. I couldn’t breathe. There wasn’t time breathe, to gather my thoughts, my mind was drunk with adrenaline. I buried my head into Lucile’s lap, a warm liquid drizzled onto the back of neck I thought it was coffee. It wasn’t. Time of death: 21:27. I will never find out what the dodgy Ibizan bell boy snuck into her hotel room at night. I will never get to tell her about my new placement in Nice. I will never get to hear her contagious laugh again. I will never forget the sound of her cry as the bullet pierced through her body. I will never unsee the sight of my best friends blood soaked into my skin. I will never forget this Friday the 13th.” –  Eloise, aged 22.

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On Friday 13th November Paris was attacked simultaneously by Islamic State militants. This act of terror has horrified the nation and the entire world. Now the question that everyone is asking and debating; what to do next? Now you would think that our government would at least have even a small amount of intellect, but clearly not. The leader of our country, David Cameron, has put forward a strong demand to join the US, Russia and Germany in bombing Syria in order to eliminate ISIS. He states ‘The attack on Paris could’ve been London’ and ‘this will make UK much safer’. Yes, Cameron because destroying their infrastructure, causing mass destruction and murdering thousands of completely innocent civilians is definitely not going make IS angry. The people involved in ISIS are disturbed, brainwashed and out right evil to say the least. They thrive off violence and terror – the clue is in the name. By causing bloodshed a demolishing the land lives them a perfect excuse to strike back. Airstrikes on Syria are not ending ISIS, it is only fuelling them for something else.

We can all agree that any act of terrorism is truly a disgrace. But what is terrorism? Oxford Dictionary definition says ‘the unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aim’. In the 9/11 attack, New York, 3,000 innocent people lost their lives. In the 7/7 attack, London, 52 died and 300 hundred injured. And recently, the 15/11 attack on Paris 130 people have tragically died due to terrorism.  Thousands of innocent people died due to bombings and other vicious acts of violence. So what do we do in retaliation? The exact same. The fact that us western countries somehow think that doing the exact same as what the terrorist do is okay because it’s ‘official’ or ‘authorized’ or even as pathetic as justifying our bombing of civilians because ‘they did it first’ is downright despicable. ‘The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that’s wrong in the world’ – Dr Paul Farmer. A small amount of Syrian citizens are associated with ISIS. In fact 77 percent have completely negative opinions towards them, 10 percent have mixed opinions and just 13 percent positive. Only 0.00064 % of Muslims are terrorists. So, the vast majority of Syrians are against ISIS yet we are still murdering them. And when they try to flee their war-torn, terrifying country – risking their own lives and families lives- to a safer country, we persistently deny acceptance and equality. We won’t even provide enough water or place to sleep. Here are a few examples of people in Syria and the conditions they are forced to attempt survival in:

Azalee05

Syrian boy drinking from floor

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Here is a member of ISIS preparing to execute these innocent Syrian civilians

Azalee03

May 10, 2012: People run carrying a burnt body at the site of an explosion

 

“I was woken up by the delightful sight of my son, Hassan, tugging on my shoulder at the crack of dawn. ‘Wake up mummy, mummy wake up!’ he yelled with glee in his voice. I shrugged him off ‘Hassan, go to sleep its early’. ‘No, mummy you got to wake up it – ‘

‘Hassan! I need to rest’.

‘But its Aunty Tira… She’s here!’ he said almost ecstatically.

My mood quickly jolted and any ounce of tiredness fell away. There stood on the corner of the pavement was my dearest friend, Tira. I wanted to run up to her and give her a massive hug but I couldn’t help feeling somewhat embarrassed of the state I was in. My home was simply and large umbrella underneath an olive tree. Surrounded by my fellow neighbours adding -up too roughly twenty of us – and the floor was a week’s worth of food and rubbish strewn where we lay. I tried to make myself look somewhat presentable with urgency and scurried over to Tira. I didn’t care about what she thought, she’s my oldest friend so I know she won’t judge me. As I ran up to her our eyes met and I for a moment I felt such nostalgia of when were kids playing tag and hide and seek.  Her smile was so wide and bright. Her arms widening to embrace me but then I heard the squeal of Hassan’s voice ‘Mummy run!’ Tira dropped to the floor arms cupped round her head. I turned around and almost in slow motion a cylindrical metallic object hurled to the village less than 3 miles from here up the hill. The plane was heading straight towards us – well the city that lay behind us. I hurried to my youngest children; Ola, Bassel and Hassan. Ether they were small and light enough for me to carry in my arms or the adrenalin and terror pumping through my veins gave me some sort of super powers. My oldest two Jawaad and Mais were already helping up Tira. There was a safety shelter less than a mile from here but there was no way I could get them in time. My body couldn’t do anything other than sprint. What else could I do? Before I knew I was launched a good 10 feet in the air, losing two out of three children in my arms. I knew that my leg was broken at least. I didn’t want to look in case it wasn’t there. The olive tree no longer stood. Nor did Tira, Jawaad or Mais. I feared the worst and the worst it was. My only daughter wept, however this provided me with comfort that she survived. The weeping stopped. Even though the city behind be was being blown to smithereens, there was complete silence. On that day my best friend, my sister, Tira came to visit me after a long year of travel and lost her life due to Russian bombs. I later found out that she came to help me and my children to freedom by planning a boat journey to Germany. On that day I lost my leg. On that day I lost four of my children. On that day I lost my home I lost everything. And every day I where I went wrong.

 

Emily Mears

Imagine being in an infinite enclosure of turmoil, and the surrounding walls around you are getting closer and closer, and there is nothing that you can do about it.

Have you, the decision –maker in what happens with these poor, helpless people ever been in that terrible situation that they are in now? No, I didn’t think so. Before you make any life-changing decisions for the lives for the worse but cutting their lifeline off with the government, let me take you on a journey.  A journey in which these troubled people have been taking, and just maybe, you will see just how much you would be pleading for help, if you were in their situation. Will you help these people just like you would do for yourself?

This is the moving story of a 40 year old man named James, who in which would not be here unless he had the hugely beneficial help from Broadway lodge:

“Hello! My name is James, and I did drugs and alcohol for the age of ten years, It started off by experimenting with my mates- as that (as the cool thing to do in those days), and then I carried on with drugs as I grew older. I had dropped out of school and I had no qualifications, and so I had no job as I had become addicted. Times were hard, I was having arguments with my parents, I was taking tablets to control myself, and I had no money. This led to me committing crimes every day and getting up to £2000, and I would spend it. It was not something nice at all to be involved I n, and so I am eternally grateful for the of Broadway lodge, as it had helped me get through the hardest parts of my life”

Prior to our talk at Heathfield community school on drugs and alcohol addiction, I had the same thoughts and mutual viewpoints as you and the government. I thought that people doing drugs and got addicted only had themselves to blame, and that they shouldn’t have taken them in the first place. But that day I learned something. 10% of people already have an addictive personality, even without taking alcohol or drugs. Also, it is not only harmful substances such as drugs that people van become addicted to, an example of this being excessive exercise. This had changed my viewpoints dramatically- even you could have an addictive personality- so why not help someone who cannot help themselves?

I also thought that the addicts were to be completely different to the ‘normal’ people around us that don’t do things to excess. But really, once they had opened up to my class about their problems, we realised that really they are the same as ourselves- human. Now I have listened to them, I am discussed with the thought that I could discriminate them for their actions, ad that I had easy and wrongly jumped to a rude conclusion. Would you like to make the same mistake as me but put their lives on the line whilst doing so? As soon as you jump to conclusions and judge them you become the inhumane one not them!

From the previous story form the ex-addict James, it is already clear to see how much Broadway lodge is benefitting these lives. If these places funding’s are cut, then you are cutting out their chance to have a better quality of life. Did you even look at the facts before choosing the sae thigs as the government? Well, if you did then you would be right behind me and the 95% of rehabilitated people form Broadway lodge that have changed their life for the better. In 2014, 500 people had come clean form Broadway lodge, and in 2015 only 254 had did the same due to a decrease in funding? That’s nearly half! And I say to you now, which figure is more important, the number or people helped or how much money the government is giving away?

So why does Broadway lodge need the funding? Well, simply relying on public donations through charity simply won’t cut it. With only a third of the needed money being raised a year, food cannot be bought, dormitories cannot be cleansed and most importantly, the councillors cannot be paid. How can you make the decision of not heling the without knowing the inside story?

It is not only for the sake of Broadway lodge that they need extra help funds. Have you thought about the wider picture? What about the effects o the public – even you? If it wasn’t for the rehabilitation centres, then quite frankly our whole society would be at risk! There would be an increase of the levels of anti- social behaviour, more drug dealing, and the costs to the government would be very high as we would see more crime  (as is shown in the story by James). It is not just crime that will cost the government a lot if rehab money is cut. Have you thought about the people that use drugs and alcohol to so much excess that they become ill as a result? Hospitals will be fuller, and there would be a higher demand for organ donors such as livers. This proves to equal out to a huge price to the government yearly anyway!

Other people may argue with my views. They may say that it is their faults that they have become addicted by using things to excess, and that why should we pay for their mistakes? My counterargument is that, as proven during the beginning of my letter, that 10% of people are born with an addictive personality- they cannot help that! And in fact they too could have an addictive personality- they just don’t know it yet.

Another argument is the financial cost to society. Some may say that te costs are too high, seen as there are 5% of people that don’t succeed and come clean. Why favour that 5%? I say that the money keeps the people of the streets and keeps our streets safer. What id more important, your families lives and welfare or money? – You cannot put a price on that!

As I close off my plea to help these unfortunates, I will show you some significant points that I am trying to make. Firstly, it is not these peoples fault as to why they have become addicted – they were born with it! Secondly, they are just like us – humans, they will share their stories and open their arms to you if you let them. Also, the facts here in front of you.  Broadway lodge has a 95% success rate surely you can’t favour five %?  Broadway lodge needs the money, as without the funding, not even half of the people can greater their life. Not to mention the effects that it would have on society if it the government was to slip with the funding. So I say to you now, the same as these helpless people in rehab, on behalf of the addicts and those 10% of the population of unfortunates, if they were to reach out their hand to you would you let them?

Georgia Wood

‘I had two options,get help…or die. i didn’t choose to be in this position, i am an addict but not because i chose to be, but because the drugs took control. You take them once and you think that will be your last time…but that one time is enough for it to hook you in, you are no longer using it, it uses you.’

In the dictionary an Addiction is described as a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities. But from what i have heard it is much more than this. I have heard the real stories of addicts…and believe me this simple definition comes nowhere near to describing the real struggle of an addict’s life. Before i heard the real stories, i thought the same as everyone else. I believed the stereotypes of the ‘junkie’ image, that they refused help and that addiction was their choice, but this is not the case. They are normal people, like you and me. However they have an Addictive personality, so where as one person may be able to have a couple of drinks on a night out and that be enough, for someone with an addictive personality, enough is never enough.

Addiction can effect anybody. Any innocent human can be caught by the suffocating hands of addiction. It will grab hold and captivate any unwary victim. Its estimated that atleast 10%-15% of the population, simply don’t know when to stop. They have an addictive personality and have absolutely no control over it. However, They can get help. Across the country there are rehabilition centres, working solidly to help addicts recover. These rehabilitaion programes offered are very effective, they give so many people a second chance, it gives them a reason to keep living. Broadway Lodge, along with many others, offer people that second chance. Broadway lodge provides addiction treatment for many different addictions, some include. illicit drugs, prescription drugs, legal highs, alcohol, smoking, gambling and many more. They state on their website that ‘although addiction is a chronic, relapsing condition, it can be treated successfully!…long term recovery is achievable.’ …and that is all an addict wants, to achieve long term recovery. So why do some people believe the right thing to do is take away the only help they can get away?

Cutting funds for rehabiliation centres like Broadway Lodge is absolutely obsured! As quoted at the beginning they have two options, ‘get help or die‘. Are we really saying we’d prefer them all to die, than pay the little amount of money it costs to keep these programmes running? Rehabiliton centres all over the country are in fear of closing due to the latest budget cuts in the Health and Social Care Commission. I understand that it costs to keep these programmes running but surely it is better to spend the money on helping people regain their lives, then dissipate it all on something less important? When we are talking about these programmes and centres staying open, its not about the money, its about someones life. Its about choosing to save people that have been sucked into the black hole that is addiction. Futhermore, if we stop paying, it will only cost us, the government and tax payers like ourselves, ten times more! We will have to pay more for things such as prisons, policing, hospitals and social care. So we either pay up front or have the backlash payments instead…its a simple choice really!

‘Its no longer a life, its an existance’. These are the  real words of an addict. The true feelings of an addict. With a little help, they can live again…but in the end, its our choice, we can neglect the addicts and withhold the help they need or we can save somebodys life. I know what i choose, what about you?

Isla Emmett

Take a moment to imagine this; you are a middle aged, healthy woman, you have a successful nursing career, a happy marriage and a beautiful baby boy, you aren’t rich but you are very contented with the life you lead. But, before you know what’s happening, your marriage breaks up and you end up being a single parent and just about manage to achieve a healthy relationship with your ex-spouse. But then yet another spanner is thrown into the works when you meet a new partner that your ex doesn’t agree with, after many hefty court cases this results in your son (who has learning difficulties) living with your ex-husband on weekdays and with you on weekend, you can just about deal with this but your mental capability is slowly fading away. Finally, the last straw, one weekend the father of your child doesn’t turn up to drop off your son, you wait a week and again no son, after a month you still haven’t seen your little boy and you are unable to contact the father. You lose it. You grab a bottle and you drink. Not a life you would ask for is it? Well unfortunately for Anna Higgins this was her reality.

At the age of 38 Anna Higgins found herself ‘unmummed’ so to speak after her ex-husband took her 4 year old, autistic son, George, away from her, she was a wreck, due to a past incident regarding a new partner she had no rights over her own child. She just snapped. When I met with her she said that every drop of toxic liquid was like honey, coating her despair in something sweet, drowning her sorrows. She was unable to pull herself out of her alcohol addiction, she tried detox after detox all with little or no effect; she spent the next year in constant intoxication, drinking and sleeping, only to wake up and do it all again. She described it as Groundhog Day, never changing, always the same end result. But then something went right, someone noticed, someone understood that she could not cope with this by herself, her GP. Her GP noticed the negative effects this was having on her health and acted on his medical instinct and got in contact with ‘Broadway Lodge’ sounds nice doesn’t it? A lovely hotel in London maybe? But this is no fancy hotel, this is a rehabilitation centre, a rehab if you would, and this is the place that Anna got funding to go to. This is the place that turned Anna’s life the right way round again.

A nice story isn’t it? Happiness, tragedy, rehabilitation. But that’s just the thing, this isn’t a story this is real life. A real human life; a life which would still be in tatters, or even bygone, if it wasn’t for the care and determination of the counsellors and staff at ‘Broadway Lodge’. But why am I telling you this? What’s the point? Well the truth of the matter is that these services are under threat, with recent budget cuts causing rehabilitation centres all over the country to go into debt and I feel like it is paramount that we teach people how influential and life changing these clinics are so we can take the steps to save them.

In today’s society 1/10 people are struggling with addiction, it may not seem like a lot, but if you had 10 peanuts and knew that one was poisonous, would you eat them? Probably not, these people live for their addiction doing anything and everything to get their next potentially fatal fix. However, 92% of people who suffered from addiction have been rehabilitated by programmes such as the ‘Broadway Lodge’ rehabilitation centre, which is staggering proof that these services work. I took a trip to ‘Broadway Lodge’ to talk to a few patients and ask the counsellors a few questions. It was there that I met Anna, but I also met Tony;

Tony was a teenage boy aspiring to be a professional football player but pride and popularity got in the way. It was 1985 and drug use was on the rise, with crack cocaine making a regular appearance on the news, it seemed ‘cool’ and ‘hip’ to do drugs, I mean why wouldn’t it be, all the rock stars and athletes were doing it, and this was Tony’s downfall. At the age of 13 he started smoking, only tobacco to start with but that quickly turned to cannabis, which quickly turned to heroin, the progressions went on and on like a high speed train racing towards a wall, then suddenly Tony woke up and found himself sitting in a shitty council flat, 40 years old, no previous working experience and no qualifications to get him anywhere; a crippling addiction and a trail of broken relationships with friends and family. He was alone. So he decided to do something and signed himself into ‘Broadway Lodge’, there he went through the 12 step programme and begun to see where his life took such a wrong turn. The day he decided to “just try” that cigarette that his mate passed to him at the park on Friday 8th March, 1985.

Tony made mistakes, just like Anna and he is now paying the consequences for it, but this does not mean he needs punished more, cutting these budgets will seriously wound our communities, the government argue that addicts are a drain to our society and that these programmes are “too costly” to waste money on that sort of people but what they don’t seem to see is that it isn’t a waste; without rehabs what would addicts do, they would continue doing what they always do, they would keep doing drugs or drinking to the point of paralysis, and what would this lead to? Crime? A lack in work force? Both of which are financially threatening.  It is more cost beneficially to pay for these programmes and cure these people than it is to keep fixing their train of destruction. The programme itself is also lifesaving, when I asked where she thinks she would be if it wasn’t for ‘Broadway Lodge’ Anna simply stated “I would be dead.” So why are we putting lives at risk and just dismissing these human beings as damaged good, sweeping them under the rug like the pieces of a vase that a small child broke; or maybe that’s it, maybe its guilt, trying to hide something bad you did from you parents, an attempt to look perfect with no imperfections, society hiding its problems from the world.

I believe that it’s time to pull back the rug, send society to its room and begin to clear up the mess it’s made, fix the people who are broken, make 40 year old men work ready, give ex-mothers a chance to feel human again. But all starts with you.

Georgia Farmer

‘Intensive care’ she said ‘my new born daughter was in intensive care due to my use of heroin through-out the pregnancy. And I couldn’t even bring myself to stay off it whilst I was in the hospital watching my baby girl suffer the consequences of MY mistakes’ – 23 year old Amy, residence of rehabilitation centre Broadway Lodge, shared a tear-shedding story with us about why she originally got into the use of drugs. This included detailed descriptions about her childhood and her parents, her abusive partners and many other things that easily add up to make a completely understandable reason as to why she started using and continued to live her life under the influence of drugs. Amy’s story turned many heads when she thoroughly described the abuse and level of violence she endured during her relationships. She was beaten. Brutally. She was raped. Traumatically. She was abused. Mentally. It was unthinkable and completely intolerable to hear, let alone remain living under that level of violence. Amy has been a resident at Broadway lodge for 6 months now. She sought help with the hope that if she got it she would be able to reunite with her daughter of 8 years.

Are you willing to be the one to tell her that despite all her efforts to quit, that this cannot be carried through because YOU want to cut the funds?

Before I spoke to Amy and 3 other members of Broadway lodge, my initial opinion on this subject was extremely stereotypical. I never thought about the lives/stories behind the faces or WHY they were relying on drugs. I also managed to ignore the fact that they are the ones asking for the help. They want the help because they’ve finally realised they need to do it for the sake of their own lives and their families etc. When I first walked into the room with Chris, Arthur, Anna and Amy sitting down, it hadn’t occurred to me that these were the drug and alcohol abusers sitting in front of me. Must have taken me a good 5 minutes. And honest to god I was so so shocked – I would have looked and absent-mindedly blanked these people out without EVER assuming what they’ve been through. The stories they told us were unbelievably hard hitting. And, although we didn’t know these people, whilst these horrific events were going on, you can see how far they’ve come since then. When they were individually telling their stories about their lives before rehab, it was almost like they were playing back the scenarios in their heads, I think this because of the pure desperation leaking from their voices. Thanks to the organisation on Broadway lodge’s behalf, my perceptions from the beginning off the day and what they were at the end of the day, differed hugely.

78%. A 78% success rate that YOU are willing to let go down the drain just because YOU don’t think it’s sustainable. THEY are trying to get the help that they need so that WE can collectively, as a society, get ourselves back on the right track.

Imagine the cost that you’re saving from society now but just keeping these funds running each year.

NOW imagine what it’d be like if you cut these funds.

These addicts and abusers will cause a higher police cost due to antisocial behaviour as an effect of the drugs.

Now, let’s talk statistics.

A typical addict spends around £1,400 per month on drugs: 2 ½ times the average mortgage.

Many addicts commit crime for the price of the drugs.

Heroin, cocaine and crack users commit up to half of all acquisitive crimes: shoplifting, burglary, robbery, car crime, fraud and the obvious, drug dealing.

The annual bill for drug-related crime runs to billions of pounds. Any drug addict not in treatment costs society an average of £26,074 a year. This includes:

  • Robbery – £5,513
  • Shoplifting – £4,798
  • House burglary – £1,228

Drug treatment prevented an estimated 4.9m offences in 2010-11:

  • 100,000 fewer burglaries and robberies, saving individuals, homes and businesses – £605m
  • 75,000 fewer car thefts and break – £155m
  • 1,100,000 fewer shoplifting thefts – £137m
  • 350,000 fewer acts of prostitution – £unknown
  • 25,000 fewer bags snatched – £19m

Every £100 invested in drug treatment prevents a crime.

Estimate crimes prevented in 2011 – 12 = 94, 979

Estimate benefit = £17.9m

If spending on drug treatment is maintained there’ll be between 14.7m – 24.5m fewer offences in 2011-12 to 2014-15 and the value of that reduction in crime will be £2.7bn – £4.5bn.

What do the public say?

77% think drug treatment is a sensible use the public money.

80% believe drug treatment makes society better and safer.

66% fear crime would increase without drug treatment.

Every £1 spent on drug treatment saves £2.50 to society.
Meaning that it’s definitely more cost efficient to give them the treatment.

Do you still think that cutting the funds is a good idea?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Josie Marchant

Directly in front of me, sat bolt upright, was a middle aged man, named Leroy. A man who seemed fairly content; legs crossed, hands gently placed in his lap, smartly dressed. His kind eyes looked to the floor as he, clearly, felt slightly apprehensive. However, he continued to sit as if a string was being pulled from the top of his head. Good posture, a welcoming appearance and neatly trimmed hair – not really your typical “druggie”. Leroy has an addictive personality. He was addicted to drugs for 20 years of his life and couldn’t find a way out. Leroy has four children, two young and two old. He hasn’t seen those children in seven years because of his addiction. Like many addicts, Leroy hasn’t had it easy. When he was 15 years old, Leroy was sexually assaulted – he thought he was going to die. After that traumatising incident, everything in his life spiralled downwards. He explained that he had been to prison nine times, in total. Things in Leroy’s life weren’t really going in the best direction – the addiction took over and he ended up with nothing. Until, Leroy was offered a place at Broadway Lodge. It seemed that, from that day on, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. He completed the 12-step programme and is now rebuilding his life, a life which he is very grateful to still have.

It’s their fault, they got themselves into that mess and they can get themselves out. Is it Leroy’s fault that he has an addictive personality? Is it Leroy’s fault that somebody, so awfully, tore his world apart? Is it Leroy’s fault? You cannot blame somebody for falling under the spell of addiction. Maybe you’re not convinced, I wasn’t. It’s funny how perceptions can be so quickly changed. I didn’t know the pain and trauma these people went through – you don’t try to understand, you just place the blame in their hands and carry on living your self-absorbed life. However, when you’re sat opposite somebody, whose eyes are saying a thousand words, you begin to see the bigger picture. Society has trained us to believe that people who do drugs are nasty, money stealing, child abusing, selfish people. When, In fact, many are the exact opposite. Those in Broadway Lodge (and similar programmes) are trying to get their lives back on track, they want to get help. When you picture your life, 20 years from now, what do you see? Children? A stable job, good income? Imagine if you whole life changed because of that one night when you went out with your friends and you had ‘just one puff’. Imagine if that one night provoked a life-long addiction. Nobody would say that they see themselves living in a rehabilitation unit in the future. I’m sure that’s not how Leroy had his life mapped out. It can happen to any of us, it might even be you. So, please, think before you immediately make misconceptions – behind each person is a story.

Many programmes, similar to Broadway Lodge, are on the verge of closure due to budget cuts across the Health and Social Care Commission. Obviously, gaining money is the main aim of cutting these programmes. However, these programmes are very valuable. Rehabilitation centres save lives. I guess the real question the Health and Social Care Commission has to contemplate is; save money, or save lives? On the other hand, the programme only goes so far and, once completed, a series of counselling sessions take place to enable a full recovery. Some people believe that drug addiction can be treated similarly to traumatic injury such as a broken arm. The arm is set and it heals, the cast is removed, physical therapy is scheduled and life eventually returns to normal. In most cases, drug addiction cannot be approached in such a manner. Someone struggling with an addiction can appear to heal, only to relapse months or years later. Should we continue funding a programme in which the results are not always successful? 80% of people who enrol in these programmes come out clean, and stay clean. Leroy would, most likely, not have had the privilege to sit in front of me, had it not been for Broadway Lodge. If cutting the programme could potentially cost somebody their life, I believe we need to stop thinking about the cost and start to think about people’s lives.

Drug addicts who end up in rehabilitation units are, obviously, costing the government money. However, the help that they receive enables them to continue living life off of drugs. If a person, on drugs, does not receive help, they fall into an ongoing cycle; need money for drugs, steal money for drugs, spend money on drugs. Would you rather, addicts take your money for drugs, and potentially putting their lives at risk, or use a significantly less amount of your money on getting help? The answer is obvious. Obviously, nobody particularly wants to have to pay out money to support people who they don’t know and, most probably, don’t feel that they deserve. However, once you witness the life changing experiences that people, like Leroy, go through, you understand. Without your help, so many people would end up with absolutely nothing, living on the streets – resulting in them having to steal food/necessities from shops. The unfortunate people stealing from shops would cost the public more money than funding a programme. Understandably, funding these programmes is somewhat expensive. However, I shall ask you the same question as I would ask the commission – save money, or save lives?

You can try to tell me that these programmes don’t work, however, if it wasn’t for Broadway Lodge, Leroy wouldn’t be reunited with his children today after a seven year long wait. Drug addiction is analogous to a self-created prison. Ironically, it is only the prisoners themselves who hold the key. Nobody’s aspirations in life are to end up as a drug addict or in a rehabilitation unit. However, it can happen to any of us. Cutting these programmes would have an effect on, not only money but, people’s health. I believe that programmes, such as Broadway Lodge, should not be cut. Yes, Leroy was an addict. But, he at least he had the ability to sit in front of me and confront his problem. I fear that, without the 12-step programme, he would be in a much darker place – or not anywhere at all. Addiction cannot be prevented, addiction cannot be ‘fixed’. Addiction is a poisonous disease. Once a stimulus in running through your veins, or in your mind, nothing can be done. Having an addictive personality is not a broken arm – it cannot be placed in a cast and left to heal. These programmes are extremely valuable and do save people from falling into a deep, deep pit – they should not be cut.

Georgia Thompson

Adam is 32, he has an 8 year-old daughter that he hasn’t seen in 7 years – nearly her lifetime, and that’s because he’s an addict.  He was a normal teenager; he did well at school, always tried his best and got good grades. Football was his passion, and he aspired to one day become a professional football player. Adam went to parties with his mates and drank alcohol, as all teens do, but soon they got bored of the drink and they tried ‘coke’, however, only for ‘recreational’ purposes of course. They continued doing it, and then it started coming up to their GCSEs, Adams friends stopped doing ‘coke’, but Adam couldn’t. He was addicted. He spent every minute of every day, thinking about it, doing anything to get the next line, but then he got bored again, he moved on. He moved on to Heroin. Heroin contains opium that is found in poppies, before it became a Class A drug, it was used in the war as a pain killer. For Adam, it was just a killer. Addiction makes you selfish, selfishness makes you unlikable and soon Adam was on his own. Deserted by his family. It took years before Adam realised he had to change.  And then, he put himself into rehabilitation at Broadway Lodge. He wants another chance; he wants to get a chance to be a dad to his little girl.

Addiction can affect anyone. It’s like a game of Russian roulette, some people will use drugs and drink alcohol, and it will remain recreational. However, 1 in 6 people (UK) have addictive personalities – this means they can’t just have it once, or every now and again. They crave it. It is their be all and end all.  It is all they think about 24/7, their brain, their body is totally over-run with it, they have no power over themselves, they don’t see the problem initially, some will remain in denial, but others know they have a problem and they want, they need help.

Drugs are classified into three main sections, A, B and C, these will determine the penalty for possession/use of these drugs. Class A drugs include heroin, MDMA, cocaine and others, Class B drugs include, cannabis, amphetamines and barbiturates, Class C drugs include, Ketamine, anabolic steroids and other tranquillisers. 36.5% of the current UK population have tried illegal drugs, and 6% of those people are addicted. However 75% of the UK population (14 years old and above) have tried alcohol, the most deadly, and most common addictive substance, but its legal, so many people don’t worry, or think anything of having a few drinks, but if you have an addictive personality, if you are that 1 in 6, it’ll catch you. It will kill you.

Addiction can attack anyone, from any walk of life, rich, poor, young, old, healthy, sick. And  it affects everyone in some way, 78% of the UK has a family member, colleague or friend that has an addiction.

We are lead to believe that all addicts are bad, they chose to be like this, they are selfish, they don’t deserve help – and until recently I shared this same opinion, but that was before I met Adam.

Programmes like Broadway lodge are funded by the government, they help to give addicts another chance, they have proven very effective however, and the government are proposing to stop the funding to programmes like these due to budget cuts. Many people across the UK do not see it as an issue; they got themselves into this, so they should get themselves out, right? Wrong.  If addicts are left without help, they will eventually cost us 10x more in  NHS funds, it will also cost us (tax payers) more money in funding prisons, as many addicts will commit crimes in order to get access to their love, drink and drugs.  On top of this, all addicts emit themselves into these programmes, meaning they want to recover; everybody deserves another chance at life. So surely, it is ethical and logical to fund rehabilitation?

Addicts are people too, they have made mistakes, everyone does, its only human, it’s just some peoples mistakes are bigger than others, they make bigger wounds, they are harder to mend. Meeting people from Broadway lodge makes you open your eyes, their stories were amazing, they didn’t want sympathy, they just wanted us not to make the same mistakes as they did, they all came from different walks of life. Some had bad upbringings and had turned to drugs or alcohol at an early age, others, had professional careers prior to addiction, but they went through rough patches, and turned to what seemed to be the only way out.  They aren’t bad people. They deserve help, they need help.

 

Maisie George

Last week I met several members of Broadway Lodge which is a rehabilitation centre for people with different types of addictions. During their visit I had the pleasure of meeting Leroy.

“I was younge when I started, probably around 8 or 9. I was brought up in a strict family with restrictive parents who never let me do any of the things any average child was doing at this time. One day my life changed and this day triggered my addiction. I was raped. Not by my parents, by an older man whom I hardly knew. He threatened me with a blade and left me fragile and scarred. My addition shortly spurred out of control after this incident.”

Hearing this story left me, along with everyone else in the room numb, deadened. Unable to do anything other than sit, listen and try to understand the horror he has gone through.

“I was 13 when I told my parents my first ever lie, and when they found out that I lied, they beat me. A lot. I began to drink in the day time, trying to repress the memory of the things that had happened in the previous years.”

I could hear his voice crack as he spoke about his parents. The tears of regret and guilt filled his eyes. The 51 year old man unstitched the wounds of his past and let us all in. He carried on talking, telling us all about how he started his family at 20 years old and how he needed to feed his addiction as well as his new child. He was forced to turn to crime. he couldn’t let his boy starve, but he couldn’t be starved of his addiction either. His addiction forced him to do things sober mind would never allow. The drugs stole from people’s homes, stole from his family and stole Leroy’s life. He was in and out of jail 9 times with a criminal record that’ll stay with him for the rest of his life. Leory now has control over his own life. he has 4 children and hasn’t used drugs or alcohol in over four months, all thanks t Broadway Lodge.

Broadway Lodge is a non-profit making organisation which is one of the leading treatment centres in the UK. The centre is a registered charity which provides residential addiction treatment, conselling and support services. Broadway Lodge is one of the very few treatment clinics which provide help for people with various different addictions including:

-Illicit drugs
-Gaming
-Prescription drugs
-Internet
-Legal highs
-Shopping
-Alcohol
-Excerise
-Ketamine
-Performing enhancing drugs
-Smoking
-Co-dependency
-Gambling
-Eating disorders

They have a strict 12 step detoxofication process, which includes individual therapy, group discussions and motivational interviews. Using this approach, 98.4% who take part in the 12 step process is clean from their addiction for the rest of their lives.

This rehabilitation centre saves lives. In the forty years that Broadway Lodge has been running, almost nine thousand people have been in need of the help from the centre workers. Many of the patients who come into Broadway Lodge have been close to death due to their addiction. Most of the addictions come from traumatic previous experiences, much like Leroy.

And this centre may be shutting down? This safe haven for those suffering could potentially be shutting due to budget cuts from the government. Broadway Lodge is an organisation which is funded by donations from the public, not funding from the government. Broadway Lodge is a registered charity, meaning the government do not fund it. Broadway Lodge is not often given any money from the government, but on the rare occasion they are the health and social commission uses less than 2% of their budget to put towards them. They would also stretch this 2% across the UK to the small and big clinics. If that 2% was equally distributed to each clinic, each would get less than 0.00137% of the budget. The budget that is meant for organisations like Broadway Lodge. That 0.00137% doesn’t make a difference to the government, but it makes a huge difference to the patients and their families.

After all of the lives saved, families brought together again and help brought to those who’re in desperate need of it, this incredible place is to be shut down? “All staff were extremely kind and very professional they put the NHS to shame.” This is a quote from one of the former patients of the centre. The staff working in the centre are educated angles who help numerous people everyday of the year. These people could be helping one of your family members in the years to come, saving their lives, taking them in, nurturing them and treating them as if their own family. The workers would council the, treat them and guide them out their addiction and into a new, healthier life. They could be treating your family member, they could be treating you, but how can they do the that if they’re not there?

If these organisations are shut down , the lives of the people involved would be in danger and there could be others in potential danger. This would cause the hospitals more money overall. By having these people without any help, treatment or councelling, it would leave them with nothing other than an addiction taking over their life. These unfortunate people would have no money for anything, which includes having no money to feed their addictive personalities. This would result in crime statistics increasing by around 29%. meaning more burglaries and more lives taken. They would have no money for housing, leaving them on the streets to influence others. It would turn into a vicious circle.

Please don’t let this happen. You could be the next person needing the help from Broadway Lodge.

Lauren Pierce

‘ I hated to feel fear and anger, alcohol was the solution but i couldn’t cope. Next was Heroin – I loved it, it made me not afraid anymore. Except that it became a problem: Instead of hiding from fear and conflict, I charged at it with great force. It ended in 5 years in prison for attempted murder’

This is one of many stories if people who go to Broadway Lodge rehabilitation center for addicts.When you think of addict what’s the picture that comes into your head? Skinny, dark under eyes and for them not to be fully with it. But addictions do not discriminate, it can be anyone. Broadway Lodge is a place that welcomes people from all around and helps them with life threatening addictions, such as drugs, alcohol and addictive behaviours like eating disorders. Its a home for people who have lost everything, even their minds. Broadway Lodge is that little feeling of hope or that little light in the dark that can let you be free. Free of the things that haunt you.

Cutting the funds for Broadway Lodge would be an outrage, you’re stealing away the help line that allows addicts to come out of the cold, lonely abandoned place they are so familiar with. You’re stealing away someone’s possible chance of a warm, addiction free life – maybe even the chance to survive. You say we can’t afford it, but to you I say, its not all government funded which means you barely pay any money in the first place.

Another reason is that Broadway Lodge sends recovered/ recovering addicts out to different schools to tell their stories and to spread awareness through talking to adolescents. It is a great way to teach people about drugs and the effects it could have on peoples lives, the families lives etc. If you cut the funding then nobody will hear about the experience of drugs unless they test it for themselves which is not what we want.

Do you know what will happen if you cut the funding on Broadway Lodge? Do you know what will happen to the people? They will have nowhere to go, no one to help them sow up the wounds that they have carved from the addiction. They will feel like they are drowning yet nobody will notice. They will relapse, which will mean more people back on drugs or alcohol, more money for the NHS to spend, more deaths. They may hate that they can’t stop or maybe even hate themselves, do you want that?

Many addictions could lead to suicides as they won’t be able to bare the life they live.Every second of every minute of every day ; do you want that? Do you want people to feel like ending their life is the last resort? That then meandering the NHS has to deal with the death payments,

and if your addicted your more likely to be careless which probably means that they go to jail – costing more for the NHS yet again!

But even though threatening effects on the addicts are bad, what about society? Do you know what will happen? If you cut the funding on Broadway Lodge many people will be left on the streets casually dealing drugs, being addicted or high day in day out. Many will influence others to go on drugs because its “Fun” ” it lets you forget the bad things”. A recent study shows that 6.4 million 12-17 year olds do drugs every year. 12 year olds. Really? You’re sentencing children to a lifetime of hell! If you cut the budget then children – yes children! Would be in drugs or doing alcohol. Is that what you want? Society thinking its okay to be high when your young. I mean you might as well give babies their daily amount of cocaine or toddlers a how to make your own splif kit.

Society is already bad, with many teenagers with addictive behaviours. It may not be drugs or alcohol but things such as social media, body image, exercise or self-harm. Do you want addiction to control the generations to come? Do you want people to starve themselves, hurt themselves or exercise until the drop? The government and social media make it okay to be addicted, everyone looks the same. Nobody is different because they are afraid to be. Is that the society you want?

Broadway Lodge can help people, they can give addicts a second chance. Many of the addicts came to my school and at first i was anxious because i didn’t know what to expect. I was expecting the worst, I mean they were addicts after all. Yet part of me was intrigued, intrigued to understand how someone can become addicted to a substance whether its dangerous or just good fun. Were they forced? Or was it a life choice? Maybe neither. When they came in, my expectations changed. They didn’t have the stereotypical look, they were well dressed and looked healthy. Many admitted that they were scared to be judged because of how they had lived their lives. I think that’s what made my class start to think.

First Paul, 44 told his story. It amazed us, his honesty and his knowledge of his actions. The drugs he said had changed him into a ” different person”. The way it affected him made him angry, abusive and dangerous. He’s spent many years of his life in prison because of armed robbery and attempted murder. This was affect of the drug infected mind. He didn’t know how to be himself, he said he felt like he fitted in well in a prison that the outside world.

Next was Silv, 28. Her dad left her when she was young and so she always blamed his absence on herself. She felt unloved and uncared for, she urged to be noticed so started to sleep around at the age of 13! She thought she was fitting it but was actually the only inequality. She reached 15 and started to consume alcohol in copious amounts. No one could stop her, she felt so confident and funny, yet she was acting like an “arrogant ***hole” ( her own words) and was very mean. Once when she was drunk she said that a family member had upset her and so she had gone upstairs and set fire to her bed? Also then with another incident she set fire to her legs. She explained that she kept relapsing until she found proper help – Broadway Lodge.

This all started for Paul and Silv from their childhood and yet they with had a family to support them. Addiction doesn’t discriminate! You can be anyone, from any background. It can still affect you.

The talks that they do to schools and then the actual center are so useful to the public and to people in Broadway Lodge. We asked Paul and Silv what they were planning for the future, they said they wanted round help people in their situation. If that doesn’t show you what hope is then i don’t know what will. People need help. It doesn’t cost that much. More and more people are getting stuck in life or death situations, will you help save them?

Lucy Simpson

“It’s not a life, it’s an existence”

A life brandished with trauma, at 50 years old, all that’s left is a shell of a man; Stolen of his innocence as a juvenile, violated. Adolescent hopes for the future snatched before he himself had the power to change his life. He was introduced to a seductress, a forbidden fruit, addiction. Temptation took over and left him forlornly pursuing a 30 year parasitic relationship with addiction. She soothed his pain, she never judged him. Distance only makes the heart fonder, 9 stints in prison later the relationship was only strengthened. Each high became a cocoon of safety to escape from the daylight nightmares. Drugs; a blur of false freedom, his life spiralled into one lethal game of Russian roulette, the gun placed at his head. The trigger hit to control – get help or die.

6 months after setting foot in Broadway Lodge; a non-profit charity providing residential addiction treatment, Leroy is clean. Complete abstinence. Now he’s able to provide invaluable advice to impressionable teenagers, educating about the power of choice. Without the help of the counsellors and facilities at Broadway Lodge he would most likely be back in prison or worse – dead. Because of cuts proposed in the Health and Social Care Commission budget, unlike Leroy, thousands of other troubled souls in the UK are about to lose access to many of the rehabilitation programmes previously successful in helping people turn their lives around.

Listening to more previous addicts from the Lodge, I saw a correlation in all of their life stories; they are survivors of abuse. They were failed as children by the government; Failed to be protected against the horrors such as bullying, domestic abuse and rape… How many more children have to suffer like this? Their naïve dreams for the future ripped away by an act of selfishness, substances helped deal with the pain. Instead of cutting the budget for essential substance abuse facilities, more efforts should be put into prevention. If abuse was more uncommon, addiction would be too.

Due to the fact that proper rehabilitation could reduce recidivism, consequently the need for funding in all areas of society could be reduced. I believe people are too quick to judge addicts, too quick to treat them like lowly scum, as evil people. Addiction is a mental problem, many people have addictive personalities yet have the willpower to say no, and evidently others struggle with the temptation. Its human nature, temptation is everywhere. A

study made by Oxford University in late 2000 suggested that a worryingly common gateway for addiction is Brief Symptom Inventory; symptoms such as depression, anxiety and interpersonal sensitivity cause many people to self-medicate with illegal substances.

Last year (2014) 20,032 under 18’s were accessing essential substance abuse services. ‘Club drugs’ is a worrying new trend affecting young adults in the UK. Spiked or sold, the perilous narcotics are too easily obtained. Synonymous with electric music raves and clubs the overdose statistics are sickening; in the UK last year 153 people died from cocaine related incidences and 45 from ecstasy type drugs. The pressure society forces upon young people in this social media century is higher than ever, it’s not surprising how popular student nights are. By clamping down on catching the dealers that pray on the masses of late teens, substance abuse would also save more government money in the long run as addicts could get help before it’s too late. Otherwise students and young adults seeking a night of fun and relaxation will end up in a hospital bed or detrimental diagnoses.

Dipping into funds that are proven to make a positive difference in the country should not be taken lightly. Without rehab facilities more money would be spent within hospitals, policing and social care. It is nauseating to even imagine the kind of neglect proposed by cutting the budget, the government has a duty of care to its citizens and by ignoring their demons they would be subjecting them to death; an act as corrupt as murder.