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Help to reclaim lives...

Byline: Audrey Forbes

A former drug addict who turned his life around is calling for more support for recovering addicts and their families.

Alan Davies works for Middlesbrough's Addictive Behaviours Service as a mentor, having beaten his addiction to drugs.

The 42-year-old was hooked on heroin, crack cocaine and amphetamines before he reached a turning point when he collapsed in the street and saw his son overdose.

He has since transformed his life and, using his personal experiences, hopes to change the lives of addicts and their families for the better.

The father of two relied on his family for support, and they looked after his 15-year-old daughter while he battled his addiction.

He now believes those who care for addicts' children should receive financial support from the government in the same way foster parents do.

"Relatives looking after kids like mine get nothing but income support.

"My mother and sister were bringing my daughter up while I was addicted to drugs and stealing from them.

"They need financial support."

Alan hit rock bottom during his 24-year addiction and lost his family and friends.

"I've got them back now but I feel so sorry for the mothers who are suffering because of their kid's addiction."

He believes supported housing should be available, paid for by the government, for former addicts leaving jail or rehabilitation.

He is also calling for Community Care Grants for former addicts - the grants are available to people on benefits and are offered to ease exceptional pressure on families, they do not have to be paid back.

"It's not just about stopping the addiction it's about life beginning again."

Alan, who now lives in Sunderland, would like to see people going into jails and rehabilitation centres to tell recovering addicts what is available to them when they re-enter the outside world.

* The Helen Project, which provides support for parents and families of people who have drug or alcohol addictions in Redcar and Cleveland. Call 01642 298078.

* Middlesbrough's Addictive Behaviours Service known as ABS can be contacted on 01642 516351.

* The Albert Centre in Albert Terrace, Middlesbrough, specialises in alcohol counselling, call 01642 221484.

* Lifeline Drugs Helpline providing advice, information and support for drug users, their partners, families and friends web: or call 0161 392054.

* Al-Anon Family Groups UK and Eire gives support for families and friends of problem drinkers, whether the person is still drinking or not. Visit or call 0207 403 0888
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:News Local
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jul 29, 2005
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