Ex-addict spells out new drug warning

PUBLISHED: 13:00 08 May 2012

Nicholas Blackshaw

Nicholas Blackshaw

Weston College

A FORMER heroin user whose addiction has left him in constant pain has launched a new campaign aimed at warning teenagers about drug use.

Nicholas Blackshaw, a mature student at Weston College, is using his own history of drug abuse to help others through the Substances Which Harm Teenagers (SWAT) campaign.

The 40-year-old said he hopes to make teenagers - and their parents - more aware of the dangers of using substances such as laughing gas, Mkat and spice.

Mr Blackshaw, of Walliscote Road, has just been named the Adult Learners South West Award winner by The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education for his efforts in education and voluntary work.

He spent 16 years of his life battling his addiction to heroin.

The damage he caused to his legs through injections means he can now only walk a few yards at a time and is in constant pain.

He came up with the idea of SWAT through his studies at Weston College, saying: “I know what harm can be done to your body and I want to do my best to help other people avoid making bad choices in life.”

His own downward spiral into drugs started when he was 20 and living in Manchester. Four years ago he was sent to Weston on probation and has not relapsed since, settling in the town.

Nicholas said: “I’m going to take my message to all of the different college campuses on open days and I’m speaking to North Somerset Council’s substance advice service about getting some sort of support group set up.

“I want to spread this message all across North Somerset.

“There’s quite a lot known about the short-term effects of these drugs but not the long-term, so I thought that I might as well look into it myself.

“This is about showing people that it’s okay for the Government to ban a substance, but people must also be aware that virtually the same drug can then be legally available again almost straight away as the people making it can just add a different compound.”

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