“Aidan was my first-born child; brilliant, compassionate, funny. A bit anxious about life, he could explain the beginnings of the universe, he could talk about Russian literature. Everything he did he embraced with such enthusiasm. He was so kind, so considerate of other people.”

One weekend Aidan took heroin, but it was too strong and he tragically died of an overdose. Please watch this heartbreaking video in which she explains why, if Aidan’s heroin had been regulated, just like a dose of paracetamol, or had he had been able to use heroin assisted treatment, he might still be alive and with her today.

Penny has decided to speak out about the overwhelming toll of stigma and shame around drug use and particularly heroin. She discusses the hypocrisy of making some drugs illegal but not all – what about alcohol? – of making judgements about people who use illegal drugs.

Aidan taught Penny not to judge the people who sold her son heroin. They were the same as him, he said, addicts, but addicts who had no-one to help them.

Anyone’s Child: Penny’s Story – My son might still be alive if drugs were legally regulated

Penny understood prohibition was not just ineffective but in fact utterly dangerous. She now believes drugs should be legally controlled and regulated to save lives, reduce stigma and protect people from harm.

On 16th September 2018 Aidan would have been 31. On that day, seven groups from his family and friends will each climb a summit in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England to kindly raise money for Anyone’s Child. In the UK, seven people die each day of a drug overdose. This challenge will represent each of those seven children who die as a by-product of our war on drugs. Please read Penny’s story and support Aidan’s family and friends: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/penny-mccanny2

If you have been impacted, no matter where you are in the world, and have a story to share please get in contact: info@anyoneschild.org