‘I would have been dead’ - drug addict speaks out after Redbridge charity closes

A former cocaine addict who believes his life was saved by drugs charity Drugsline, says he is “devastated” after it was forced to close on Monday.

Since the charity in Eastern Avenue, Redbridge, took its first phone call in 1989, it has helped tens of thousands of people.

The addict, who wants to be known as Gary, said: “It changed my life and saved my life. When I got in contact with them I was using most drugs. People don’t realise the devastation drugs cause, they annihilate life.”

He says that the personal and empathetic service offered by the charity was unique.

“I went to many places before to get help but none of them had the impact Drugsline had. Other services are a waste of time,” he said. “The session at Drugsline changed my whole outlook and way of life.”

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Gary was 37 when he first approached the charity for help with his addiction.

He said: “I was on the brink of suicide, I’d lost everything I had – business, house, marriage – and was massively in debt. I would not be here, not talking to you, I would have been dead, and that’s a fact.”

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Drugsline helped anyone with, or who was witnessing a loved one, struggle with any form of addiction whether drugs, alcohol or self-harming.

Founder Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin said: “It’s the young people who are going to lose out. To just care about humanity was the extent of what Drugsline was actually about.”

Drugsline had its funding pulled three years ago and since then it has relied on private funding.

Mr Sufrin added: “We came to the realisation that we don’t have the funding to be able to continue. Over the years we had many challenges and always managed to see them through, but not on this occasion.”

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