A former drug addict is ‘fighting back against austerity Britain’ by launching LGBT+ addiction helpline
A man who battled a drug addiction for 12 years is “fighting back against austerity Britain” by launching his own LGBT+ addiction helpline.
“I have been in and out of different types of therapy from the age of 8 to about 33, drug addiction from the age of 17-29,” Alan told PinkNews.
Ingesting crack cocaine, valium, alcohol and marijuana on a daily basis, Alan said he reached the point where he took “anything else that was available.”
“I didn’t care as long as it changed how I felt,” he told PinkNews.
“Addiction made me feel like a failure, like I couldn’t get a job, have a stable relationship, or even make friends. I never want anyone to go through what I did.”
Now eleven years clean, Alan has turned his life around, and wants to dedicate his life to ensuring that LGBT+ people are “accessing support quickly enough.”
“There’s a much higher rate of mental health issues within the LGBT+ community – especially with young trans people,” Alan explains.
“I think the more that can be done to signpost, support them. That’s why I want people know that we’re here and we’re free for when they do have an issue with addiction or mental health.”
As LGB teens are four times more likely to be suicidal than their straight friends, Alan wants to take their concerns and needs seriously.
Austerity cuts to NHS have been blamed for 120,000 excess patient deaths.
It was this startling figure that motivated Alan to set up the helpline.
“The austerity cuts made me do it. Its taking longer for people to access help when they decide they want it. What help is out there is minimal due to the cuts.
“I did some research, and budgeted spending on drug and alcohol treatment services fell from £877m in 2013-14 to £716m in 2017-18,” explains Alan.
“I want to ensure that no-one is ever kept waiting when they’re fighting for their life.”
Alan is taking the fight seriously.
He’s even enlisted the help of LGBT+ activist and former Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall to encourage struggling LGBT+ people to talk.
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Every Monday night, the charity will take over @NevilleSouthall’s account and offer support for anyone affected by addiction or mental health issues.
“I’m just glad I got clean when I did because its tough out there now,” he said.
“Quite a lot of people I know have just not been able to get funding for rehab, and NHS mental health waiting lists are ever-increasing.
“We just want to help people that want help and to help raise awareness around addiction and mental health. If we can take some of the strain off underfunded services and support people then great.”
Those in need of support can contact Drugsline 9am-9pm on 0330 3530139.