Campaigning Washington mum drives home anti-drug message
Cath Wareing was left devastated when her son David Pace died of an overdose of heroin in April 2014, aged 26.
Former Washington School pupil David began using cannabis aged 12, but stopped after receiving counselling.
But in the past few years, he had been troubled by drug and drink problems – although his family say it was a shock to them that he had used heroin before his death.
Shocked at what she sees as a lack of help to those struggling with substance addiction, Cath set up the Pacey’s Plea Facebook page to share the family’s frustrations at how they lost David to drugs.
She has previously spoken of fears for a “lost generation” of young people on Wearside unless something is done to make access to regular treatment easier.
With the help of Saps (Sunderland Area Parents Support), she has now held her first conference to raise awareness of the dangers of drug-taking at Washington’s Arts Centre.
“The feedback we’ve had from the event has been really, really good,” said Cath, 48, of Donwell. “What we want if for young people to have an informed choice so that they can understand how addictive these drugs are.
“A lot of families still won’t get help for a loved one because of the stigma around it, which is something we need to get rid of.”
As part of Cath’s presentation, a DVD was shown explaining David’s life leading up to his death. Suggestions were also sought as to how drug prevention education can be better taught in schools.
Support workers also gave talks about their experiences of dealing with those struggling with drug addiction. Among those organisations attending included Lifeline and Sunderland Carers as well as Washington councillor John Kelly. Cath will hold another conference at the Millennium Centre, Concord, Washington, from 1pm to 3pm on Thursday, August 13.
n For more details, call Saps Sunderland on 520 3444 or search for Pacey’s Plea on Facebook.