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A Family Torn Apart By Drug Addiction and How One Member Is Determined To Beat It


There are many reasons why people turn to drugs – boredom, peer pressure, curiosity, and stress, just to name a few. The loss of a loved one can cause grief stricken individuals to seek oblivion and many find this in the form of drugs or alcohol. Losing a loved one can result in devastation; some find that their only way to cope is through a particular substance. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the Taylor family – a family that has been completely ripped apart by the death of Gaynor Taylor and the ensuing drug addiction that has since claimed the lives of four more family members.

A Family Ripped Apart

Gaynor Taylor and husband Chris had five sons and a daughter when Gaynor was diagnosed with lung cancer, losing her battle in 1993. Her heartbroken husband Chris, who had been working as an aeronautical engineer, could not cope with the loss of his wife and turned to heroin. He soon became addicted and it was not long before the family began to suffer. Not only did Chris Taylor become addicted to the Class A drug, his six children soon followed him down the same path of drug addiction and crime. The entire family has appeared in court for drug related offences including burglary, petty theft, and dealing. His daughter Jade even gave birth to a baby boy who was born addicted to heroin after she had injected the drug while pregnant.

Deadly Addiction

Jade has spoken of the hell her family has been through because of heroin addiction and of how she is now trying to get clean by taking methadone so that she will not lose her son. She said, “It’s taken us down one by one. We were happy once but now we are destroyed. I look at what’s left and I no longer recognise the family my mother raised. We were normal. We were good people – the kind of family others wanted to be like.”

Jade has also told of how her mother would have been devastated to see her family like this. She said that when her mother died, things changed because her father turned to heroin to cope with the pain he felt. She told of how her father had hid his addiction for years before the family started to lose everything they had. The children were eventually placed into foster care. At the age of fifteen, Jade said that while on a visit to her father, she saw him injecting heroin and was shocked. However, her bothers acted as if this was completely normal. She said that, unbeknown to her, they had already become hooked on the drug too.

Following in their Father’s Footsteps

Each of Jade’s brothers became hooked on drugs one by one after spending much of their childhood in the care system. Her brother Paul was the first to take an overdose and die at the age of twenty-five. Jade said that she swore she would never touch the drug after seeing her brother die from it. However, her father and her other brothers’ addictions continued. The next member of the family to die from a heroin overdose was Jamie who was just eighteen-years old at the time. Just under twelve months later, her father’s abuse of heroin and alcohol led to his death from pneumonia.

Nothing to Live For

After watching four members of her family die, Jade said she began to lose the will to live and with her brothers now living in a tent and injecting the drug that had claimed her brothers and father, she became more curious about it. It was not long before she too was addicted. She said, “After that first high, I felt like I was in a bubble and no one could touch me.”

She also said that the pain of losing her family members ‘drifted away’ and she realised why her brothers took the drug. At sixteen-years old, she was living on the streets with her brothers and began begging, stealing and selling her body to fund her £70-a-day habit. She was spending her £100 per week benefits on the drug and, when she ran out of money, she would head straight to the methadone clinic.

Funded by the Taxpayer

Jade now realises the error of her ways and is trying to get clean. She said that the taxpayer must have spent thousands on her over the years she was claiming benefit money and spending it on drugs. She would then end up in court or hospital, which would cost the taxpayer more money. She said her brothers are still doing this and knows it is not right.

The Motivation to Quit

Jade’s moment of realisation about the damage she was doing came when, at the age of twenty-one, she gave birth to a son who was addicted to heroin. While pregnant, she was injecting throughout the day for the first five months and said that even when she knew she was pregnant, she continued to inject, as the cravings were stronger than anything else was. It was only witnessing her son Conor going through withdrawal from the drug that made her realise that she had caused it. She was given an ultimatum by social services and told that she had to get clean or lose her son. She has been on methadone now for the past four years, through an NHS programme.

Destructive Force

A drug addiction is so destructive that it can leave everything else in its wake. For families like the Taylors, drugs can become the centre of the universe, with nothing else mattering. The death of their mother left a gaping hole in their lives that they chose to fill with heroin. Father, Chris could not deal with the pain of his loss and his decision to turn to drugs tore the entire family apart. Their story is a tragedy, with each member feeling the full force of what drug addiction can do. However, Jade is determined to put that life behind her, despite the fact that her two remaining brothers continue to be gripped by their addiction. Her determination highlights the fact that this terrifying addiction can be overcome.

Getting help

If you or a loved one is struggling with a drug addiction, there is help out there. At Addiction Helpline, our expert counsellors and advisers have helped hundreds of people get the help they need. Our team is fully trained in all aspects of addiction and they can offer advice and support to those affected by it.

We can provide information on the various treatments available and, through our network of rehabilitation centres and programmes, we can put you in touch with a suitable organisation at which you will get the help you need.

Family Support

As well as helping those addicted to substances, we also offer support and advice to family members struggling to deal with a loved one’s addiction. We can offer counselling and advice to get you through this tough time as we know the benefits of talking through problems such as addiction. Call us today for free, independent advice.

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