Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.14 29 Apr 2021


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A man waiting seven months for a detox bed from the Health Service Executive (HSE) says he has 'given up on life'.

David in Wexford applied for a bed in September, and has been waiting ever since.

He told Newstalk Breakfast he started using drugs very young, owing to his surroundings.

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"My addiction started very young - I lived in Ireland until I was nearly 10, and we moved to England.

"I went from a school that had, say, 25 kids in the whole school to a school with 1,000 children in it.

"It didn't go down well, let's just say.

"The estate that I moved on to was very rough - it was full of a lot of alcohol and drug addict parents.

"My parents themselves were drug users: I never got into drugs through my parents, but there was drugs everywhere on my estate".

David said he moved through drugs since he was 12-years-old.

"I started using drugs at probably the age of 12, and really I went through them all.

"I started taking acid, LSD, I moved on to amphetamines - and I would use heroin every now and then to come down off the amphetamines after I'd been up for four or five days.

"Gradually the heroin taking became more and more - and I didn't actually get a habit until I was about 17.

"But basically I ended up with a heroin habit".

'The wrong person at the wrong time'

He said he did a detox in England, where it was "much easier" to do. He then moved back to Ireland and was clean for a decade, until the economic crash.

"In 2008 the crash happened, I was a working archeologist [and] basically work totally dried up.

"Also around the same time I developed testicular cancer and also the breakdown of the relationship of my wife, who I'd been with for 16 years.

"It just all coincided, and I basically ran into the wrong person at the wrong time and became a heroin addict again".

David said the addiction was different this time.

"When I was a heroin addict in England, I lent into the wind: as in, I didn't particularly want to be off it.

"Whereas this time, I got offered opiates because of the testicular cancer.

"I knew what I was doing, and I took them - lots of them.

"Obviously in the end I had the testicle removed and I moved straight on to heroin.

"The thing is this time 'round my heart was never in it - I never wanted to be a smack addict - it was more of a means to an end for me to deal with what was going on in my life".

A man prepares to inject heroin in Portlaoise, Co Laois in this 2008 file photo. A man prepares to inject heroin in Portlaoise, Co Laois in this 2008 file photo. Picture by: Julien Behal/PA Archive/PA Images

'Left in limbo'

David said he now struggles with the basics of everyday life.

"I've raised three children, and I never used drugs, I was never a drug addict around my children.

"My oldest son, when I did my detox last time, he was four - that was the reason why I did it.

"I just feel like, because I've been left in this limbo status, I have just given up on life".

He said he has been given indications that he may not get a bed until July.

"To tell you the truth, I've let things go really badly - the rented accommodation I'm in is in a state - I've let things go really badly.

"I have deteriorated very, very badly from the person who I was.

"I don't recognise myself in the mirror no more; in fact, I've actually got rid of every mirror in the house bar the mirror in the bathroom where I clean my teeth.

"I just don't want to look at myself no more".

And he added that he wants to get clean once and for all.

"I want to do not just the detox, I want to do the rehab, I need the rehab.

"I had a lot of childhood trauma, I've never done a rehab before - last time when I did it I did a detox and I just left England.

"Because I can't just runaway from Ireland this time, I need the bridge of the three months in rehab as well.

"The first three months is the hardest with the cravings and that", he said.

There are over 3,500 people waiting for a drug or alcohol detox bed here in Ireland.

That is according to HSE data released to the investigative journalists at Noteworthy.

Some 60% of them have been on a waiting list for at least nine months.

Anyone affected by issues raised in this article can contact the HSE's confidential freephone helpline on 1800-459-459, or e-mail helpline@hse.ie

'I have just given up on life' - Man waiting on detox bed appeals for help

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

   

Main image: A man prepares to inject heroin in Portlaoise, Co Laois in this 2008 file photo. Picture by: Julien Behal/PA Archive/PA Images

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Addict Addiction David Heroin Hse Newstalk Breakfast Recovery Wexford

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