A MUM invited TV cameras to her young son’s funeral as a warning to drug users after the 20-year-old’s overdose.
Nathan Hadlow, from Livingston, died in a friend’s house last month after taking street Valium.
And his mum Tracy, who said her “caring” son had been on a “dark path”, allowed BBC Scotland to film his funeral yesterday in a bid to further highlight the nation’s disgraceful drugs figures.
She revealed Nathan struggled with his mental health for a number of years – and his issues increased during the coronavirus pandemic.
Tracy told the BBC that her son started experimenting with drugs at 13 as he was “bored”.
She added: “For Nathan it was all about fun, he was having the time of his life out there, and it took years to progress to the dangers of drugs. They were so easily accessible, at the school gates, everywhere.
“I didn’t expect his life to end at 20 but I knew he was on a really dark path the last six months.
“Throughout all of this, he would always say he loved me and give me a hug. He was a caring son but he was also a nightmare.
“If I put him out one day, he’d rock up the next day and say sorry. Some days he turned up here and I didn’t know what planet was on, he was so spaced out.
“The Saturday before he died I know now that he’d taken street Valium that whole weekend.”
Nathan spent time in Polmont Young Offenders Institute as a teenager, but lapsed into his old lifestyle when he was released.
Tracy said her boy was the type that needed “taken by the hand to go and access support” – but the facilities in West Lothian, where there are no rehabs or recovery houses, are far from good enough.
On March 16, Tracy, an NHS clinical support worker, was woken by police after a 12-hour shift, with officers giving her the heartbreaking news of Nathan’s death.
She said it has left the whole family “devastated”, adding: “My son and my daughter and I went to see him at the funeral parlour on Easter Sunday and spent time with him saying goodbye.
Throughout all of this, he would always say he loved me and give me a hug
“And when I walked out the room, I knew I’m never going to see him again.”
Former drug user-turned community activist Aidan Martin spoke at Nathan’s funeral, with just 17 people in attendance due to Covid restrictions.
Aidan told mourners: “People who die from drugs-related deaths are not junkies.
“Not a waste of space. They are someone’s family member. Someone’s friend. Someone’s neighbour.”
He added: “This young man should still be here. He could have grown to be anything he wanted to be if he had the right interventions at the right times in our society.”
And Tracy also called for better help for people struggling like her son.
She said: “There needs to be more services out there for people like him. There needs to be more help and understanding and no judgement.”
Earlier this year, Nicola Sturgeon pledged £250 million to tackle the rising numbers of drug deaths in Scotland.
The extra cash will be given to addiction services over the next five years.
The First Minister said the figures are a “national disgrace” – as deaths rose to 1,264 in 2019.
Ms Sturgeon accepted it is a “reasonable criticism” to say the Scottish Government should have done more in recent years to stem the increase in deaths.
Scotland’s Minister for Drugs Policy Angela Constance offered condolences to the Hadlow family, adding: “We recognise residential rehabilitation may not be for everyone which is why we are determined, as part of our national mission, to make sure that people can access whatever treatment is right for them in the right place at the right time.”
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