Family’s plea after son died of drug overdose

Cath and Malcolm Wareing and their daughter Kristy treasure a photograph of David Pace, their son and Kristy's brother.
Cath and Malcolm Wareing and their daughter Kristy treasure a photograph of David Pace, their son and Kristy's brother.
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THE grieving mum of a Wearside man who died of a drug overdose today called for more help to stop young people following the same tragic path.

Cath Wareing’s son David Pace, 26, died in April this year following a heroin overdose.

He had intermittently took Valium, cocaine and crack cocaine.

Although his family insist David, who was dad to Josie, three, wasn’t an addict, they 
believe he and many other people in the situation he 
found himself in need support quicker to stop their lives being wasted.

The former Washington School pupil 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.

Speaking at her home in Donwell, Washington, Cath, 47, said: “This issue needs to be highlighted to stop other families from going through what we are now.

“We had grave concerns about David weeks before he died, even though he only dabbled in different drugs.

“We were at our wits’ end trying to look after him, but how do you keep a 26-year-old man in the house all day?

“It was mental torture for us because we knew he needed to go to a rehabilitation place but he couldn’t get one.

“He knew the dangers of taking drugs and he wanted to change. There needs to be support out there.”

Popular David, who had worked in factories and also 
as a labourer since leaving school, was laid to rest at Sunderland Crematorium, with hundreds turning out for an emotional send-off weeks after his death.

Cath, along with David’s dad Malcolm, 53, and his sister Kristy, 23, have now set up a Facebook page called Pacey’s Plea, which already has almost 1,400 members.

They are hoping to share 
David’s story which will then deter other youngsters from spiralling into drug and alcohol misuse.

Cath says she would like to go into schools and colleges to 
talk of the perils of drugs to pupils.

She added: “The way we have lost David has just made me more determined to help others because his death was so needless.

“Already I strongly believe that we are getting through to people.

“We can’t bring David back but I know if he was here now, he would be saying to others ‘don’t do what I did’.

Malcolm said: “Even if we save one person from going the way David did, then that’s something.”

To “like” Pacey’s Plea, search for the group on Facebook.

Help is here

KARYN Jackson is the general manager of Fuscia, an organisation in Sunderland that aims to provide support, knowledge and respite to families and carers of substance misusers.

She said the plight of 
David Pace’s family is a familiar one: “Help is out there for families like David’s. It’s an incredibly difficult situation to be in.

“People can refer themselves, and GPs can also refer people, but we need alcohol and drug misuse services to pass families on to us as well.

“We work to find out people’s individual situations and offer whatever support they need.”

To find out more, visit or call 567 0581.