A Worksop heroin user said more funding needs to be ploughed into rehab services to help drug addicts.
Philip Pauk, 38, started using heroin 20 years ago and said being referred for rehab has been the most successful method of getting him off drugs.
“I have been in and out of prison 39 times. I always say to myself that I don’t want this type of life but somehow it always draws you back,” he said.
“I definitely think rehab can be successful – I know it has previously kept me out of trouble and given me the chance to learn life skills I never would have had.”
Philip said he started using heroin as a teenager – mainly due to peer pressure.
“It wasn’t seen as a dirty drug back then and people used to do it as a social thing,” he said.
“But it soon started to affect my relationships and caused me to be homeless. We really had a heroin epidemic in Worksop 10 years ago and I lost a lot of good friends through it.”
He said he has seen a marked decrease in heroin use, with alcohol and MCAT becoming growing problems in and around Worksop.
“The quality of heroin has really gone down in the last few years and I have seen people start to substitute it with other things,” he said. “I have seen so many of my friends suffer from alcohol abuse – one is yellow because his liver is so damaged and one has got scars from when he has beaten up.”
He added: “MCAT is definitely on the rise. It takes your head in a completely different direction – one minute you feel totally euphoric and the next you are moody and want more.”
Philip said he got involved in petty crime to pay for his £60 a day drug habit and has been regularly in and out of prison.
“One of the big problems is that you don’t get the support you need to find somewhere to live until days before you leave – it used to be several weeks before,” he said.
“This makes it hard to get settled when you’re out which draws you back to the lifestyle you’re trying to get away from.”
“I can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel even though I am trying hard to. You are having to fight your corner all the time and you will always have that stigma attached to you.”