A young man from Kent is sending a sobering reminder to others his age about the potential long-term effects of drug abuse.
His story was broadcast on ITV News Meridian (E) on Thursday 5th February.
After drugs caused him to develop mental health issues, 25-year-old Shaun is showing that substance misuse doesn’t just pose a risk to physical health, but emotional wellbeing too.
‘I thought it would make me cool,' explains Shaun.
'I wanted to fit in and be part of something.
‘It was more of a binge than an addiction, but I found myself doing it every weekend.
‘One minute you can be high as a kite and the next low as hell.
‘The doctors said I had drug-induced psychosis and now I’m on medication for the rest of my life.’
Yasmin Ishaq, from Kent and Medway Early Intervention for Psychosis Service, features in the broadcast in support of Shaun’s campaign.
She explains more about the possible link between mental health and drug use.
‘Not everybody who take substances will get a mental illness, but it can happen to a particular group of young people,' says Yasmin.
‘Once diagnosed, if someone continues to take drugs, it may impede their recovery and journey back to wellness.’
Shaun, who says his passion for photography helped him kick the habit, has worked with Fixers to produce a short film warning young people about the dangers of taking drugs.
Click below to watch his film 'When a Habit Develops: Drug Abuse'
He adds: ‘Photography liberated me. I was never good at academic stuff and I thought this is it. This is what I need to be doing.
‘I am very optimistic because I can see myself going somewhere with my life instead of waking up in the morning and thinking about where my next hit is coming from.
‘There’s more to life than that.’
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Worcester Fixer Ryan Higgs is warning young people about the
dangers of legal highs. Watch his TV story.