Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Dad Tells of Anger and Pain at Heroin Tragedies

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Dad Tells of Anger and Pain at Heroin Tragedies

Article excerpt

Byline: By Peter Taylor

Grieving father speaks out in despair at drugs that claimed the lives of 5 pals

Within two years heroin claimed the lives of five young pals from the same town.

Today a heartbroken dad of one of the victims spoke of his despair at the drugs culture that has destroyed the lives of dozens of families in Blyth.

Philip Thompson, 56, was too upset to attend an inquest held into the death of his 22-year-old son Ryan last year.

But he opened his heart afterwards to tell about his regrets and his anger over the tragedy.

The circle of five pals all attended the former Tynedale High School in Blyth. Ryan's best pal Mark Pegg, also 22, died of a methadone and heroin overdose.

An inquest on Barry Weatherston, 23, two days before the inquest on Ryan heard he died from a massive overdose on returning for the day to Blyth after leaving the area to try and beat his addiction.

Stephen Maddison, another of Ryan's pals, died 18 months ago after injecting himself with heroin. But a post mortem later revealed that there was only a low level of the drug in his body. Medical experts later told north Northumberland coroner Ian McCreath that although 21-year-old Mr Maddison had not taken an overdose of the drug, it may still have killed him by inducing an abnormal heart rhythm making his heart stop.

Unemployed Mr Maddison, of Lilac Avenue, Blyth, had just been released after serving a five-month jail sentence and was trying to steer clear of drugs.

Another of Ryan Thompson's friends from the town died two years ago from drugs.

Today Mr Thompson said: "I didn't go to the inquest because I am still heartbroken. It was a tragedy waiting to happen.

"Ryan was a drinker. He got a craving for the heroin when he got himself full of drink. The combination of drink and drugs is lethal.

"He had already overdosed six times and been taken to Wansbeck General Hospital on three occasions in the space of the eight months he had been taking heroin. …

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