'We need to warn young people off drugs before it's too late'

In the space of five years, the former Falkirk and Motherwell player went from being a premier league starlet to a homeless drug addict.

In a gym hall in front of around 100 second year pupils from St Ambrose High School in Coatbridge, former footballer Colin McNair poured his heart out – discussing his deeply personal struggle with addiction.

In the space of just five years, the former Falkirk and Motherwell footballer went from being a premier league starlet to being a homeless drug addict.

Now seven years sober, he hopes his journey will encourage others to make better decisions.

His presentation was part of Hamilton Academical’s ‘Talking Drugs’ early intervention team, who have been touring secondary schools across Glasgow and the west.

Up-and-coming pro Colin McNair played for Falkirk, Motherwell and Dumbarton

They believe people with lived experience of addiction delivering hard-hitting talks is one of the best ways to stave children off trying drugs in later life.

Colin McNair said: “I was just being honest and told them about my journey before my addiction – and where addiction took me.

“From staying in a six bedroom house, financially okay… to being a professional footballer with three premier league clubs, to ending up being homeless and begging on the street..

“We tell them the hard facts and some of the things that’s going to happen to them if they get involved with drugs.”

This topic is one many in the audience will have likely not yet thought about.

Hamilton Academical former chief executive Colin McGowan

But, with Scotland still looking for ways to curb its problem with drugs, it’s hoped these stories will act as warning for young people in years to come.

The programme is facilitated by Hamilton Academical’s former chief executive Colin McGowan – himself a recovering alcoholic.

Colin McGowan said: “This is about education, intervention and prevention. The government has to get behind these schemes.

“We have to get people in front of the kids and let them know, not pick up the pieces after they’ve picked up the drugs.”

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