Anyone’s Child: Jade’s story – my dad was a drug dealer from Moore Lavan Films on Vimeo.

Jade - anyone's child

Does drug policy work? No, is the simple answer. Drug policy and policing has played a negative, dominant role in my life and it was not until a few years ago that I really understood this. I was around eight years old when my father went to prison for drug use – my family never received any mental health support to help us deal with this.

My hatred towards my family for taking drugs stems from visiting a police station on a trip with the cadets, when a police officer made it clear that if we broke the law through drugs or any other activity we would end up in this tiny cell. I began to think about why my father chose drugs over me. Was I not wanted by him? Through hidden depression and open hatred, I wanted to join the police and always made it clear to my siblings that I would put them behind bars for using drug.

There is much talk from the government about putting drug users in prison, but how does this impact families? How does it impact the children? Questions that should be answered are not even being asked. I have gone through life forgetting the happy memories I made with my family and have replaced them with negative ones. When my dad went to prison, I blamed it on drugs. These are not thoughts a child and young adult should think about. I now realise it’s drug policy that causes so much pain.

My father never harmed any of us. He was a loving father but drug policy ruined my chance of a happy childhood and happy memories. When I think about my dad there are three things that come into my head straight away: seeing blood over his face when he was beaten up, giving me a hug when I said goodbye to go home to my mum, and, the day he died in hospital. It is only through pictures and videos that I see the happy times of going to the zoo etc. and if I think deeper the love my father showed us is there and ever so nice to think about.

So does drug policy work? No. Putting a drug user in prison does not deal with the social isolation and mental health of a drug user, their children and family. Drug policy has ruined lives, separated families and made drugs more dangerous. I have begun to connect with my family again after learning the true negative impacts our drugs policy has. The government doesn’t work with us, but against us. Drug policy ruined my childhood and relationships with my family. It’s time we look at the facts, look at what drug policy has really done for people; because as far as I am concerned, it hasn’t done anything positive for the economy, for families, nor has it succeeded in reducing drug use.

Legal regulation would mean the state taking supply of the control of drugs. Problematic drug users and their families could seek help and support without fear of punishment and the criminal market for drugs would be all but eliminated.

A huge thank you to Christina Themistocli for the music.