A MOTHER has vowed to never give up on her drug-taking daughter despite five years of misery.
The mum has bravely spoken out about the devastating impact of having a child on hard drugs in a bid to highlight a problem that is prevalent all across Huddersfield.
It's a harrowing, heart-breaking story of a woman's determination to try to help her 24-year-old daughter break free from a life of drugs.
The mum's name has been changed to Audrey and the daughter's to Louise to protect their identities, but they live in the Huddersfield area.
Audrey - who has been off work with stress for months due to Louise's drug problems - said: "People who think drug problems are confined to tough council estates had better think again. It crosses all social barriers and is everywhere.
"I have a large family and none of my other children have fallen prey to drug addiction.
"But Louise started dabbling with cannabis when she was about 18 and quickly went on to using harder drugs.
"When I first found out about the extent of Louise's problem, I was horrified.
"She's always been a bit of a rebel and I suppose never thought about the possible long-term consequences of drug-taking. Addicts never do until it is too late."
Audrey added: "I knew very little about drugs - so I was very naive and uninformed of the dangers, heartache, stress, unhappiness and sadness which is suffered by the user and their parents, brothers, sisters and other members of the family."
Louise had a boyfriend in her late teens who was taking heroin.
Her descent into drugs started then.
She dropped out of art college, drifted in and out of jobs and her sisters kept trying to get her off drugs.
Audrey said: "When I asked her if she was taking drugs, she'd just fob me off or deny it. She knew I'd be furious.
"Her weight was falling and she was clearly lying to me. She often told me she was going to work, but when I rang her there, she'd not have turned up."
Louise lived with her boyfriend for a couple of years - but the relationship ended when he was sent to prison for stealing to fund his drugs habit.
"Louise just would not admit she had a drugs problem," said Audrey. "She moved in with another boyfriend and at first I thought he was great. It was only later I learned both he and Louise were taking hard drugs. He managed to hold down a full-time job and could hide his drug problem well behind a chatty facade."
It was different for Louise.
"Drugs took her spirit away," said Audrey. "She lost all her confidence.
"I've been told that when people start taking hard drugs they stay at that point in their lives. They never progress in themselves.
"Louise is now 24, but acts like someone in their late teens. Her friends now seem so much more mature."
Audrey lost touch with Louise for a while. She knew she lived in a flat in Huddersfield town centre, but never answered the door when Audrey went round.
Eventually Audrey discovered Louise had got into trouble shoplifting razor blades to sell to buy drugs - and turned up when Louise appeared before Huddersfield magistrates.
They patched up their relationship even though Louise was caught stealing again. This time police searched her bedroom at Audrey's home looking for evidence of drugs.
Things came to a head at the end of last year when Louise started to inject heroin.
She was in a mess and went home in desperation to kick her habit.
"Her teeth were in a shocking state," said Audrey. "Apparently heroin and its substitute, methadone, can affect you that way. She needed a lot of treatment - especially fillings. She was slim anyway, but looked dreadfully thin.
"When Louise was on drugs she could be so volatile. I didn't really know how to deal with it. At times she'd climb out of a window and go wandering off in the middle of the night. I used to dread the weekends coming round."
Louise cleaned up earlier this year - but things have deteriorated once more after Audrey found a carrier bag in her room and inside it a crumpled piece of burned foil - a tell-tale sign of heroin use.
"My heart just sank," said Audrey. "She'd told me so many times she would never touch heroin again."
Louise has returned to live with her boyfriend - and Audrey does not know if drugs are once again playing a major role in her life.
"There have been so many false dawns in trying to get her off drugs," she said. "But I'm trying to be as positive as I can.
"I just don't think Louise is looking far enough into her future and would love her to have a fresh start somewhere new where drugs are not a temptation.
"She has the ability to do something with her life, but time will tell."
New help group a lifeline says mother of addict daughter
A HELP group for the relatives and friends of drug users has been set up in Huddersfield.
The Kirklees Parents And Relatives Support Group (Drugs) has been described as a lifeline by one mother.
It meets once every two weeks at the National Children's Centre in New North Parade.
It was set up in 1996 by a Rastrick mother whose son had serious drug problems.
Mum Audrey featured in our story above said: "It is all very informal and gives parents, carers and friends of people with drugs problems the chance to talk about their experiences.
"It gives us new ideas and ways to try to tackle the problems we face every day of our lives.
"It's also made me feel that I'm not alone in this," she added.
"You often think you are the only parent going through this and believe it's horrendous.
"I felt very alone and isolated trying to understand and deal with my daughter's situation, lifestyle and the problems associated with drug-dealing.
"But that's not the case; there are people worse off than me. At the group we all look out for one another," said Audrey.
"It has been a lifeline for me and helped save my sanity many times.
"You need to discuss your problems with other parents in the same situation and learn as much as you can about drugs and the options available to help our children overcome their drug addiction.
"It's given me so much more understanding about drug addiction and helped to relieve the burden," she said.
"I feel I have the information and compassion to understand my daughter's problems better and speak to her more like a friend."
Audrey added: "We have to be determined to be always there for our children. Each one is worth saving, to be able to live a full life, not just exist in a trance."
Anyone who wants to attend the group or needs information should phone Christine on 01484 722223.
Have your say