Derry Detoxed: Film of teen addicts released as activists call on government to open detox centre in Derry
A hard-hitting YouTube documentary backing a detox centre in Londonderry featuring teenage addicts telling their stories has been released.
‘Derry Detoxed’ is part of a wider campaign in which activists are demanding as a matter of public urgency a fully equipped and staffed unit in Derry to serve the entire north west region.
One of those behind the campaign is civil rights activist Fionnbarra O’Dochartaigh. He is hoping a petition in support of a detox centre will soon reach the 100,000 signatures needed to take the issue to the floor of Westminster.
“This documentary is now available on YouTube and there is no denying it is a hard-hitting and insightful film which we hope will shock many more people into becoming active within this non-judgmental humanitarian campaign,” he said.
“In it we here from people who are at the coal face of addiction and some of them are in their early teens talking about how easy it is to get hooked on both illegal and prescription drugs in Derry and their battle to get help.
“It is part of our wider campaign which was set up two years ago following the death of a young man who tried to get help with his addiction but sadly lost the fight to suicide. This is happening all too often but we will do whatever we can to get a facility here.
“A petition that was launched earlier was presented to Stormont with over 70,000 signatures but now, with so much uncertainly in Stormont, we have set a target of 100,000 signatures.
“If we can accomplish this, we can take it to the British Government and get the issue debated in the House of Commons.”
There is already a significant degree of support for a detox centre to serve the wider north west.
One possible solution which has been suggested is the White Oaks addiction centre just across the border at Muff, Co Donegal.
Mr O’Dochartaigh added: “It looks as if upwards of 70,000 people can be almost totally ignored as there seems to be little movement, especially from politicians, in spite of many private and public expressions of support for such a detox unit.
“There is now a need to re-mobilise at grass-roots level to increase cross-community efforts, which at the end of the day can literally save many lives, as well as enhance the daily lot of those unknown numbers whose afflictions need to be remedied as soon as possible, and not swept under the carpet, or put on officialdom’s long-finger.”
‘When I was drunk I started taking chances’
One addict interviewed on Derry Detoxed reveals how his battle with drugs started as a teenager:
“The first drug I ever took was when I was about 18 or so.
I was out and I was offered an E (Ecstasy tablet).
I took the E — and I was drinking as well. I’d stopped drinking by the time I was 20.
But I took the E and I loved it. I couldn’t wait until the weekend then to take the E.
Then it was two, three, four. This went on for a year and a half and then all of a sudden it just stopped. It was just a
great buzz, a brilliant, brilliant buzz.
There’s no point in taking Es sitting in a house. That’s pointless, ‘cos you’re sitting thinking right, Jesus, I want to do something — and you’re sitting in a house.
So if you’re out in night club and you’re taking Es it’s like, I’m away for a walk.
At least you can go for a walk round a night club, the tunes are pumping, the place is going — it’s a bit of craic. You’re seeing your friends and they’re all the exact same as you.
To be honest with you and this is being pure honest, I always said that I would never touch a drug. No way.
I used to call them, scumbags. I used to call them rejects. I used to call them retards. I used to call them losers. You name it, I called them it.
I think it was drink that introduced me to drugs. Whenever I was drunk I started taking chances.
I just wanted to try it.”