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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation

Drug addict who featured in Sky News investigation given second chance by rehabilitation charity


Last week, Sky News revealed that councils are spending half of what they did on addiction treatment services 10 years ago, and the number of drug-related deaths has doubled.


We told the story of Craig Murphy, an addict who had been trying to get into rehab for a decade. After our reporting, a rehabilitation charity offered Craig a place in Oxford. We joined him as he moved into his first safe accommodation in years.


Craig Murphy's mouth is wide open. Inside is a swab scraping along his cheek. Craig, a crack and alcohol addict, is being tested ahead of admission to rehab.


The swab test will show up any opiates, amphetamine, benzo, cocaine, ketamine and other commonly abused drugs. There is also a urine test for alcohol.


Craig looks a little nervous. Or perhaps it's the exhausting journey he has to make to get him to the ADAPT Charity in Oxford from his home in Burnley. Or maybe it is neither and this is what a man with a 20-year addiction looks like.


The urine test comes back negative. It confirms what Craig says: that he has been sober for nearly three weeks now.


But the drug test returns positive. Craig has cannabis in his system.


"You had cannabis yesterday?" I ask. "But you knew that was going to come up in the test?"


Craig looks apologetic. "I made a stupid mistake by smoking some," he says.


"It's hard to say no. It was there and I took it. But I'm here now and I know I'm not going to be touching anything."


He had better not if he wants to keep his place in rehab.


There's a growing waiting list and the charity has a zero-tolerance policy towards drugs and alcohol. From now on, Craig will be randomly tested once a week.


Craig has been searching for a place on a residential rehab for nearly 10 years. Council funding to addiction recovery services has suffered drastic cuts at the same time demand for places and deaths from addiction are going up.


He was offered a six-month placement with ADAPT in Oxford after his struggle was reported on Sky News last Friday.


'I was dead for a couple of minutes'


Craig will be sharing a house with three other recovering addicts. He has already formed a bond with one of them, Dave New.


He was exposed to heroin as a 16-year-old in care. His mother, a single parent, died when he was just 10 years old. He describes an early childhood moving from home to home in run-down coastal towns across southeast England.


The heroin was supplied by a dealer who lived in the same hostel. It was the start of a traumatic battle with addiction for almost every drug.


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