VETERAN drug addict who for over a decade has snorted hard drugs up his nose and pumped them into his veins is taking the first faltering steps to recovery this week as he travels to England for rehab.
During his long journey into the dark underbelly of the Northern Ireland drugs scene he has tried ‘practically everything’.
But the narcotics that he thought would free him from humdrum normal life have long since transformed into a ball and chain.
Every morning the man has to travel into Antrim to get his daily supply of methadone to stave off the cravings that torment him each passing moment.
Heroin. Crystal meth. Crack cocaine. He has consumed them all - and they, in turn, have consumed him.
This is a disturbing story of a life that promised so much thrown away at the prick of a needle. But ultimately he hopes it is also a tale of redemption as he strives to shake off the shackles of an addiction that has left him teetering above an early grave.
We will call him Paul. That’s not his name, for reasons that will become all too apparent - but he swears the rest is true.
*Read the full story in this week’s Antrim Guardian