There are many reasons young people abuse drugs; one of the most obvious is peer pressure. However, it is not the only reason; some youngsters turn to drugs in a bid to escape their emotions and painful situations. Take Stuart Patterson, for example; Stuart has spoken to the Daily Record about how feeling out of place in a fee-paying school led him straight to drugs.
Stuart grew up in Glasgow, but when he won a scholarship to private Hutchesonsâ€™ Grammar School, his family thought it would be an incredible opportunity. However, Stuart said he was â€˜like a fish out of water thereâ€™. He admits that his parents could not afford the school books and that he simply stopped attending classes. By the time he was fourteen, he was mixed up with gangs and taking drugs.
Stuart started to take methadone when he was twenty-two, and said, â€œI couldnâ€™t believe my luck. If I said the right words to the doctor, I could get free drugs.â€
Nevertheless, within a few months, he stopped taking the drug but continued to collect it and sell it. But just a few years later, he was taking it again â€“ this time, though, he had to take it with the pharmacist present. Stuart said, â€œAt that point, I had been on drugs for about ten years, and EVERY waking thought was about my next fix. My 9.30am daily appointment just became my next fix.â€
In 1997, Stuart admitted to being threatened at gunpoint by a gang who accused him of stealing; six days later he came into contact with Teen Challenge. By then, he was open to change and confesses to embracing the opportunity. He said, â€œTeen Challenge offered a hope worth fighting for and the â€˜toolsâ€™ to deal with lifeâ€™s issues. My experience with Teen Challenge involved me embracing the Bible. I know that can be off-putting for some people, but it really did give me something in my life when I had no direction, no grounding. I got support after I gave up the prescription and that was long term, so I didnâ€™t relapse.â€
A New Life
Stuart had finally managed to get his life back on track and started to enjoy life. He got married in 2001, and he says, â€œDark times held no fear as I had a hope to get me through and the coping mechanisms and life skills to deal with them.â€
As with many other recovering addicts, Stuart decided to help other addicts, and when he and his wife moved back to Scotland in 2009, he began helping out at the Haven Kilmacolm and at Teen Challenge, where he turned his life around. He started up his own church in 2011 in Easterhouse, where he had grown up. He added, â€œI was sick of seeing friends die. Many old friends are still dying today due to the ongoing health consequences of drug abuse. For me, the drug craving was replaced by faith, something to build a life around. I think a major problem with methadone programmes is that they focus so much on the drug that is ruling the usersâ€™ lives and install nothing to replace drugs as a key focus. I turned my life around. My beautiful wife Tracy is a nurse, and my three girls do not need to grow up in a home full of addiction and all it brings. There is hope.â€
Stuart is one of the lucky ones; many people with a heroin addiction get put on the methadone programme and stay on it for decades. Some are never given the help and direction they need to manage their methadone intake and simply end up swapping one addiction for another.
Source: Pastor writes on how feeling unwelcome at top school lead him to methadone addiction before turning life around (The Daily Record)