Seaton: Ex-amphetamine addict is turning her life around

A SEATON woman has spoken of her battle against drugs and the tears she shed when her amphetamine-addicted nephew was sent to prison.

A SEATON woman has spoken of her battle against drugs and the tears she shed when her amphetamine-addicted nephew was sent to prison.

Susan Gibbs Holden, 43, of Eyewell Green, was given a conditional discharge last week for possession of amphetamine and cannabis. She says she was relieved with the sentence and will stay off drugs.

Although watching her nephew Ricky Lee Young being sent to prison broke her heart, she believes, in the long run, it will help keep him off amphetamine.

She said: "I'm quite impressed with him. He was offered community service or going to prison. He'd rather serve his time than have community service hanging over his head and know he's going to fail in cleaning up his act.

"It's probably done him a favour, as it will keep him away from temptation. I think something good will come out of this. Hopefully, he will come out of prison a different chap

"He's had a hard life. I think people take drugs because there's something missing in their life, they're soul searching."

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Ricky, who has been living with Sue on and off for around six years, has been using amphetamine since he was 14.

Sue believes she did not encourage him to take drugs, but could have been too soft on him.

"I always said 'if you do it, do it away from me,'" she said. "But you can tell the people who are wired on it.

"People will blame me for Ricky's addiction. They will blame me for most of Seaton's addiction. But I don't care what they say about me anymore."

Sue, who has completed courses in alternative therapy and hopes to become a counsellor with the Exeter Drugs Project, says she is determined to change her ways.

The mother and grandmother of four said: "The children have been my rock. I've done it for myself, but also for them. They get victimised in the street so much, with people saying 'your mum is a druggie'.

"It must have been hard for them and, maybe, I didn't give them enough attention when they were growing up. I find more time in my life, now that I'm not on it."

Sue started using amphetamine in 1994 after the death of her mother. The drug gave her relief and a boost in confidence.

She said: "It's offered me nothing but trouble but, at the time, because I used to be so shy, it offered me that bit of confidence. Then you lose it again because of the stigma of taking drugs.

"When you're high on drugs you don't think of the consequences. You do things and don't worry about it until the police come knocking on your door. And they always do."

She said it is a constant struggle to stay off drugs, but it has got easier.

She said: "They say there are no side-affects, but I disagree. It makes you sleep a lot and be bad tempered.

"Hanging out with people who still do it makes it really difficult - if you're not doing it anymore and they're doing it around you. I've had to change friends. I still speak to them, but it's not on the same level.

"And it has been so difficult because of the fact that people don't believe me [that she's not using]. It gets better in time. If you have got family and support it helps."

She adds that Seaton has a serious drug problem because of the available supply.

"There's a huge drug problem in Seaton. There's a lot of heroin and cocaine - because it's easy to get. I have a few friends on it," she said.

"I think young people get on it because of boredom, or to be in the 'in-crowd' with the smoke. The dealers befriend them until they give it a go. I would advise them to say no, say you're bigger than that."

Anyone affected by drug problems can contact the Exeter Drugs Project on 0845 371 9988 or visit