How Drugs Can Tear Families Apart

Those who suffer from drug addiction often do not realise the negative impact this has on their loved ones. As addiction is an illness of the brain, it can cause the addict to act in a selfish or unfair way, and the affected person may not even realise he or she is acting this way. An addicted loved one can cause friends and family members to feel extremely distressed, which can put a strain on once stable relationships. One example is thirteen-year-old Jamie Poulton, who has developed a drug addiction at such a young age, and his family are unsure of how to cope with it.

Tearing his Family Apart

Jamie became addicted to the legal high known as Spice; he said that he is ‘desperate for help’ after his family had spoken out about his erratic behaviour. Jamie started to abuse the drug to help him deal with his mental health issues, which include ADHD; he smokes the substance every day and sometimes he will even smoke it all day until he eventually passes out.

His grandmother, Teresa Poulton, says that Jamie is ‘tearing’ his family apart and that he desperately needs help to overcome his addiction. Jamie admitted that he purchases the drug from adult drug dealers on the street. Teresa said, “He lives with me, and I’ve brought him up, but that also means I get the brunt of him. With the mental illness, he thinks he owns me, and I can’t have a life. Sometimes he takes all his clothes off and climbs drainpipes and lampposts. He smashes up my flat as well. It’s all just getting too much. It’s getting harder and harder, and no one is doing anything. I look after him, feed him and clothe him. He can be such a lovely boy, but then he gets angry and takes these drugs. He is desperate for help.”

Getting too Much

She added, “I’m also bringing up my 19-month-old granddaughter now, and it’s all getting too much. I’ve been depressed since I was 14, but all I do is good. Sometimes I just want to take myself and him in the river and end it all. I’m always there for everyone, and no one is ever there for me. I try to be strong, but I’m at the stage where I can’t take anymore.”

Jamie has acknowledged that he needs to start putting his family before the drugs, and said, “I take the drugs, but it doesn’t help. It’s tearing me and my family apart. All I think about is drugs, but I don’t want to think about that. Family comes before drugs, but I need help and extra support. All Addaction does is give me tea and biscuits and take me to McDonald’s.”


Regular abuse of Spice increases the risk of the abuser developing a mental health problem; the risk increases if the user has a family history of mental illness. There are many other side effects, including:

  • sweating
  • confusion and disorientation
  • psychotic episodes
  • organ failure
  • coma
  • in serious circumstances, death.

Jamie’s mother, 33-year-old Jennifer Poulton, said, “It’s the only thing he relies on, and it’s breaking us down and tearing us apart. You see other legal high users killing themselves, and I have nightmares that it’ll be my son in the gutter.”


If your child, like Jamie, is using drugs as a way to deal with their problems, then contact us here at Recovery Lighthouse. We specialise in assisting addicts overcoming their addiction in a safe environment; we ensure that any of our clients feel comfortable at all times. Contact us today for further information.

Source: Schoolboy, 13, addicted to legal high ‘worse than heroin’ is desperate for help after ripping family apart (