Heroin is a highly addictive substance that affects the lives of many people around the UK. It is easy for those with no experience of addiction to say that heroin users should just stop using, but it is never that simple. Those affected by heroin addiction have no control over their urge to take the drug. They will use it even if they know it will cause harm to themselves and those around them.


One woman who is all too familiar with the devastating effects of heroin is Shelly Clark from Hilltown. Shelly gets £125 worth of benefits every two weeks, which should allow her to purchase necessities such as food and to cover bills. However, it is not uncommon for her to have spent almost every penny within twenty-four hours of receiving the money; she said that she could spend £115 on heroin, other drugs, and tobacco. She is then left with just £10 to feed herself until she gets her benefits again two weeks later. Shelly said, “Heroin, which is pure evil, has robbed me of the ability to make what would obviously be the right choice – to stop using it. It has also robbed me of any chance of a normal life, my family and my child. Nearly every penny I have goes on drugs, and I’m totally disgusted with myself.”

Mixed with the Wrong Crowd

Shelly has acknowledged that she first started abusing drugs at the age of just fifteen. She began dating an older boy who was a drug user and consequently found herself mixed up in drugs. In no time at all, Shelly was hooked, and so began her life-long cycle of substance abuse. Looking back at her history of heroin abuse, she said, “I know now how stupid I was but it happened, sadly. It’s too easy in Dundee to get access to drugs and I was happy to use them.”

Speaking about how she had been funding her devastating addiction, she said, “I’ve been in jail four times – the last time was for 28 months for assault and robbery. I’m not saying that as some kind of warped boast, but because I need people to understand that’s how low drugs can take you.”

Stigma Around Addiction

Afraid of how people may react, Shelly was concerned about speaking out about her heroin addiction. There is a certain stigma around addiction where people assume that all addicts are bad people and that they are all dangerous; however, this is not the case. Many addicts simply need the right help and support to aid them with their illness. Shelly hopes that she can put her message across to as many people as possible and urges them to seek help with any addiction they may be suffering from. She said, “The bottom line is that people need to be educated not to start taking drugs in the first place because for many people, once you start there is no going back. I would hope that, by listening to people like me who know how bad our lives are, they would not make the same mistakes. They need to understand how dreadful life is as an addict and learn that it’s just not worth it.”

Overcoming Addiction

Overcoming any addiction can be extremely challenging. This is the case for Shelly, who still has not managed to find a treatment that suits her requirements. However, there are many different treatments available for those suffering from any form of addiction. Here at Recovery Lighthouse, we can provide you with any information you may need regarding treatments. Contact us today for more information on how we can help.