A dad who lost his son to drugs has started a support group so families have someone to turn to in their darkest hours.
Ian Bertram (64) found out in 1991 that his two sons – then aged 11 and 14 – had started using substances.
For Ian’s elder son, Simon, it was the start of a ten-year journey – via crime to pay for drugs and a nine-month prison sentence – to an early death from an accidental drugs overdose.
Happily Ian’s younger son, Nicky, now aged 35, has “worked his way through it” and helps his dad with a group called Drugs In Lincs, which offers free emotional and practical support to anyone affected by someone else’s drug or alcohol misuse.
Ian said: “Because of the stigma society has attached to drug and alcohol misuse, it is extremely difficult to talk and describe to friends and family about what you are going through.
“It would have been so helpful to have someone there to listen to how I was feeling about coping with a son on drugs.
“It’s a lonely and painful journey watching your loved one lead a life of destruction and eventually throw it all away so needlessly.”
Ian was separated from the mum of his two children when the bombshell dropped.
He said: “Although I was seeing my children every week, I had no idea they were using. When my ex-wife told me, I was gobsmacked because people can still function the same even at that young age.”
Drugs in Lincs is recruiting support volunteers around the county – it already has one Spalding-based volunteer, but more are being sought along with a volunteer fundraiser and publicity officer.
Ian, who lives in Boston, founded the group last March.
Support is confidential, non-judgemental and comes from people who understand because they have lived through drugs journeys of their own.
• Drugs in Lincs offers Skype (drugsinlincs) as a means of support, but you can also call or text Ian on 07757 946662, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.drugsinlincs.co.uk