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Shocking start to 2018 means Dundee’s drugs death crisis is heading for worst ever level

Fears have been raised Dundee could be in line for its worst year ever for drugs deaths after 12 suspected cases were recorded in the city last month alone.

The figure, which compares with the 38 recorded in the whole of 2016, was highlighted in a Channel 4 News report last night which saw the mothers of two Dundee women speak about coping with their loss.

Liz Johnston holding her daughter Samantha Fearn’s funeral service.

Dundee has the highest drugs death rate in the whole of Scotland according to data collected by National Records of Scotland.

Liz Johnston’s daughter Samantha Fearn died from a lethal combination of drugs in November last year aged just 36, while Kate Brady lost her daughter Susan Kennedy, 39, to drugs in January and is raising her three grandchildren as her own.

Kate Brady, who lost her daughter Susan Kennedy to drugs.

Mrs Johnston said Samantha’s daughter Ellie, 7, was now her priority, and had to break the news her mum had died.

“Mummy’s dead,” she said. “You never want to hear that scream again I tell you. It was horrific. It just broke her heart. And it’s never been the same since to be honest. It’s never been the same since.

“I tell Ellie how her mum was good and that she loved her. Ellie knows what her mum died of. She knew she was on drugs.

All they’re interested in is the money. Samantha died for maybe £10. And that’s what her life is worth — £10 to a dealer.”

“Everybody thinks you can go back to normal. What they need to understand is a 7-year-old child has to deal with her mum on drugs, her mum dying, her mum’s funeral.

“She’s got to put all of this in her brain. I can’t do it, so how can she? I’m hoping she goes the right way. That’s all I can do because Ellie doesn’t have anybody else. I can only hope she has a better life than her mother did.”

Mrs Johnston also described her hatred towards the drug dealers.

“If I could find the person who gave her that I don’t know what I’d be capable of. I don’t like drug dealers. I hate them with a passion. They just dole out misery. They don’t care that they’re killing people, that doesn’t matter to them.

“They’re not interested that children are involved. All they’re interested in is the money. Samantha died for maybe £10. And that’s what her life is worth — £10 to a dealer.”

Mrs Brady’s daughter started taking drugs at fifteen years old and, she says: “There was no help at all. Nothing.”

She said she tried to get Susan off drugs but: “There was no escape. There was nothing you could do to stop it. Not a thing. She just kept doing it and doing it.”

She describes the moment she found out Susan had been “put on the game” by her dealer.

“That person would deny it. People were telling me she was on the game. What could I do? I couldn’t stop her. They took advantage of her and I was disgusted.”

Mrs Brady also talks about other grandmothers in Dundee who are having to raise their grandchildren.

There doesn’t seem to be anything getting done. I think this will get worse and worse.”

 

“It’s sad for the grans but sad for the kids as well. They see other kids with mums and dads and that and they think no. They’re basically stuck with their grannies, which is a shame. You can’t be the gran you want to be because you’re bringing up these kids. But you never replace their mum, they always knew Susan was there.”

Mrs Brady fears there will be “a lot more death” before things start to change.

“There doesn’t seem to be anything getting done”, she says. “I think this will get worse and worse.”

She is also angry with the dealers, saying: “They’re a disgrace, they’re horrible people.

“Do they ever pay for what’s happened? I don’t think so. They’ve still got their big houses and that. The kids that they’re dealing to, they don’t care what they do.”

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