By the time Lisa Diduca reached her teenage years she had already experienced significant trauma.
To help her cope with the pain, she turned to drugs.
Lisa, from Dundee, told STV News: “It started with partying really. Like your speed and ecstasy, all that kind of stuff, and then I started taking stuff for coming down off it, valium, dihydrocodeine, and then that led to heroin one day.
“It kind of numbed me to be fair. It took away a lot of pain I was carrying that I didn’t deal with because I thought I was OK.”
Lisa was speaking as new figures from Public Health Scotland showed drug-related hospital admissions between June and August increased by more than a quarter.
Charities in Dundee say they’re very concerned about people using multiple substances.
In Lisa’s case, she felt so low that she fell into a cycle of addiction and bad relationships.
She also continued to have traumatic experiences in her life – her mother, brother and grandmother died, and her older brother was murdered.
But it was watching her daughter give birth to a stillborn child that made her want to seek help: “To see your child go through something so traumatic, when she is so healthy and living life the right way, when I was throwing my life away.”
After being on the methadone programme for 12 years, Lisa started to come off it – but was substituting it for other substances and alcohol.
Across Scotland, figures show there has been an increase in drug related harms during the summer.
Hospital admissions due to substance misuse and naloxone administration has gone up by 26% in the last quarter.
Further concerns have been raised about the impact mixing different drugs is having on people.
Lisa was admitted to hospital nine weeks ago for treatment for her mental health after having a breakdown.
But she says the care by NHS Tayside and the Carseview Centre is helping her on her path to recovery.
She told STV News: “They have healed a lot of my trauma…the patients…everyone has had a great impact on my life and I see so much beauty now and I’m actually drug free.
“We have a system in place which is there to help – but you have to want that help. We are very lucky to have a free system and I’m grateful for that.”
As part of her journey, Lisa as taken up diary writing and poetry but she says there is one thing everyone can do to support people battling addiction.
“There needs to be less judgement and more compassion. Anyone can fall off the wagon,” she said.
“An addiction covers everything from drugs, alcohol, gambling and you should never judge anyone, because what you give out you get back.
“Be kinder to people and kinder as a human, show compassion.”
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