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Drugs and Mental Health

Posted by Rosie B on 14 March 2017.

My son was 19 when he suffered his first psychotic episode after heavy cannabis smoking. He had two more, one keeping him in hospital for 7 months, before he understood that he could not smoke cannabis. While recovering from the third episode he met a beautiful girl selling The Big Issue, and fell in love, saying he was going to save her from heroin. But of course he tried it himself, and decided it was the only thing that made him feel 'normal'. Methadone maintenance, suboxone maintenance, and various detoxes followed. Usually he met a girl at the detox and they left together, using almost immediately. In 2008 and 2012 detox resulted in psychotic episodes, one leading to another 6 months in hospital, the other to 4 months in prison because the mental health services would not recognise that he was ill. Only using heroin again seemed to cure him of these psychoses. He has had at least 2 attacks of deep vein thrombosis, been threatened and attacked by other users, and this January was knocked off his bike by a car, an occupant of which then jumped out to kick him in the head and stamp on his chest, because dealers he'd delivered for thought he had cheated them of £25. This chest trauma eventually resulted in parapneumonic effusion and he has just spent 2 weeks in hospital to have intravenous antiobiotics, chest drainage and debridement. He managed to seem fine all the time in hospital on 65mg of methadone, and on discharge came to our house to convalesce. He lasted 24 hours. After a couple of cans of strong lager he seemed to have a mini-psychosis and insisted on returning to his haunts, being violent and verbally abusive when we tried to persuade him to think again, and told him we would not enable his habit any longer. (We have previously tried not to with varying success.)
Now I'm getting texts saying I promised to help but gave up at the first hurdle, he wanted to stop, if he had a child he would put up with anything to help them. Well he cannot have a child because the heroin has made him impotent. Anyway he is 38 now and an adult. It was nice to spent some quality time with him while he was just on methadone, and disappointing that his heroin brain took over again.


Icarus Trust
14 Mar 2017

Hi Rosie B
Thank you for sharing your story. It is very sad to read of your son's addiction and realise what a dreadful time you have had for many years supporting him. 
If it would help you to talk with people who would understand please contact The Icarus Trust. We are a charity that provides support for the families and friends of addicts. 
You can contact us on or visit the website
All the very best.

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