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Daily Record against drugs: LET TRAGEDY OF HEROIN ADDICT SON BE LESSON; Heartbroken parents' plea.


THE family of a teenager who died from a drugs overdose yesterday appealed to others to learn from the tragedy.

Robert Waddell, 19, had battled against heroin addiction for years.

His devastated parents told his story in the hope it will stop other youngsters falling into the trap.

Fay and Ian Waddell said their son had been winning the war against heroin and had started to get his life together when he made "one wrong decision" three weeks ago.

The agricultural worker, from Eyemouth, Berwickshire, died of a massive heroin overdose while he was staying with an aunt. She left the agricultural worker to look after her home in Edinburgh's Riccarton but, when she returned, she was met by other members of the family who were preparing for the youngster's funeral.

Speaking from the family home in Eyemouth, Robert's mum Fay said her son first became involved with drugs at school and his personality changed.

She said: "We tried desperately hard to pull him free from drugs and to win him back but, for a time, no one could reach him. His personality changed completely, he lost his way and his plans and dreams.

"And there were many dark days when we were all at our wits' end, not knowing what else we could do to help him break free from drugs."

In a final bid to beat heroin, sports- mad Robert started training with the Royal Marines Commandos. But he was too young and he was told to return in two years.

He decided to pursue a career as an agricultural engineer and he passed a college course with flying colours just weeks before his tragic death.

Teacher Fay said that Robert was bitterly disappointed when the Marines let him go but that he still tried hard to become a success.

She added: "Robert came off drugs and got really fit before he applied to join the Marines. He thought the strict discipline and being away from home would be his salvation.

"But he was still very young for such a tough way of life. After six weeks, his commanding officer gave him a good reference but suggested he should come back in two years. He was disappointed but enrolled at college."

Robert's father Ian, who runs a fishmonger's, said he can't explain why his son returned to heroin.

He added: "No one will ever know what happened to Robert. After all his determination, he made one wrong decision and paid for it with his life.

"For him the battle against drugs is over - but for many young people and shattered families in Eyemouth and elsewhere the fight still goes on."
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 25, 2001
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