Documentary series looking at drug use in Bristol. This episode focuses on the challenges of breaking free from addiction.
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This programme contains scenes which some viewers may find upsetting.
Now for a policeman's knock.
-All right, how's it going?
-Is it just you in there?
No, I've got my mate in there.
-We just need to come and have a quick chat, all right?
All right, let us come in and then
you can chuck some clothes on, all right?
We've got more officers coming that
are going to conduct a thorough search.
Cos we think that Tony's been doing quite a few dwelling burglaries, so
we're looking for property, we're looking for clothing to link him to
those offences, OK?
The end of the day, you're bringing a lot of these problems on yourself.
This is the second time in a week that I've been here.
There's a lot of drugs getting used in this flat but something's
going to have to give cos you're
inviting all these people round to smoke crack, all right?
And then they're paying for that habit by committing crime.
That's really affecting the local community.
All right, mate. You're under arrest
on suspicion of dwelling burglary, all right?
I'll give you the circumstances in a second.
I'm just going to pop these cuffs on you, OK?
You match the description of somebody seen on CCTV, all right?
Right. Bearing in mind you're under caution, are those trainers yours?
They're my trainers.
They're yours, yeah?
All right, mate.
There is crack pipes, burnt foil, all recent evidence of drug misuse.
Tony, you've just gone from talking to this.
-If you're going to go
in an ambulance we've got to get you downstairs anyway.
Tony, can you hear me? Can you hear me?
TONY BREATHES SHALLOWLY
-Stay with us, stay awake.
-2089, priority, please.
Yeah, can you get an ambulance, please?
I know it's wrong and I know it's bad, but I do enjoy it.
A lot of things need to change in the way we treat drugs in this city
and in this country.
I obviously sell to journalists,
I've got lawyers, I've got doctors,
a huge amount of young professionals.
-Open your mouth.
-Don't swallow the drugs, spit them out.
Wait till he's breaking into your home and taking your stuff and your
kids are upstairs. See how you feel.
All right, I've arrested you before.
Stay there. Don't move. I'm going to spray you.
You get so wrapped up in yourself and your addiction,
sometimes you can't see the damage that you're doing to other people.
I've got to change my life,
otherwise I'm going to die, you know?
-He's quite a big lad, isn't he?
Do you want a hand, guys, or are you all right?
Can you hear us?
Think he's...Class A user.
-Lots of needles in the flat that he's come from,
as well as evidence of him smoking crack.
He is breathing. There is a pulse.
They're giving him something cos they think potentially he's
taken some sort of opiate in the early hours, so they're going
to give him a jab of something to bring him round.
-All right, fine.
-Right, then, Tony, shall we sit up?
He has previously presented like this to police.
It's just delaying tactics.
From what I see it, at grassroots level of policing,
crime in almost every aspect will go
back to one common denominator, and that is drugs.
There's something about putting the handcuffs on that's the first start
of, potentially, the recovery journey for him.
Been a front line police officer for a very long time and it
feels like a vast majority of that
has all come back to one common theme, and that is addiction.
Reoffending rates are so high, there has to be more emphasis on tackling
the addiction as opposed to anything else,
because that is the root of it.
This is me when I was a year old.
I guess as soon as I started drumming it was just kind of an
instantaneous love for it.
I love everything about it.
I've never taken drugs, but they
control my life and everything around me.
-Shall we look at some of these photos, Rita?
My mum was a heroin addict.
She's been clean for years.
Every week, she goes to Narcotics Anonymous meetings.
That doesn't mean she's safe.
She still lives on a knife edge.
Look at the mess I looked like.
You look really yellow.
You were born when I was 28 weeks pregnant and they said there
had only been one person at St Michael's
who had had a baby when she was 24 weeks pregnant...
..and the baby had survived.
And then after that person it was me and you, you know?
I remember when I was about...
..I think about 34,
I'd been clean then for over three years,
and my doctor, he said, "If you really want to kind of experience
"motherhood now it's the time because you're at the peak of your
"health, your viral load is completely suppressed with these HIV
"drugs, you know with the
"anti-retrovirals, and this is the right time for you."
So you were kind of all planned from the start.
I had, like, black eyes.
I was a demon baby. Look at my eyes.
-You weren't a demon baby!
-Don't laugh, Rita, it's not really a funny matter.
You almost died and I almost died, and that's how bad it got, you know?
You can't imagine how serious it was, you know?
You almost didn't make it, really.
Oh, look! You with long hair.
Yeah, there's a picture of you and your dad, when he was still around.
Oh! Here it is.
-Oh, you found the hat?
This is going to be weird. Oh, my God.
-My head was that small?!
My head was that small!
-Oh, my God.
-Isn't that freaky?
Yeah. It's like a tennis ball.
I know, it was. Yeah. Yeah, exactly.
Look at you now.
I don't know how old I was here.
But I was already kind of taking heroin by then, so I must have been
18 or 19.
-You were taking heroin at 18?
Yeah. Can't you see it in my eyes?
They're just kind of dead. I'm just kind of...
stoned out of my head.
And this is one of the few that I'm with...
short sleeves cos until my parents found out I was on drugs I
needed to kind of, you know, hide the track marks.
Here, I was already taking loads of drugs.
With the face of just got out of bed.
And my mum's all dolled up, and she's just been to the
hairdresser, obviously, cos her hair's all done up.
These are the times where I was still at home.
I still had lots of people around me
that I'd steal from and that I'd kind of keep
my drug taking going, you know,
without having to do too, kind of,
extreme and horrible things, really.
And those people, because they were friends and family, they weren't
really angry, they were just saddened, I mean, because...
..of the choices I was making and
the fact that I was, kind of, you know, destroying my life.
At the time it was just like I was on a mission,
I had to have drugs and I had to be high all the time, you know?
And I had no kind of morals, I knew it was wrong, but that's
what I had to do, and that's what I did.
When I moved to London, very soon I was, kind of, deep into trouble.
I kept shoplifting, kept getting arrested,
kept ending up in Magistrates' Courts,
you know, kept getting fined.
And I'd been told, in no uncertain terms,
should I choose to keep on going down the same avenue that they would
put me in prison.
I had friends who prostituted themselves for drugs.
That obviously wasn't an easy option,
but it was the quickest way to get
the money they needed.
And there was a point at I even, kind of, started considering that.
Op boss tonight, working till three,
and Tina's going to go on CCTV.
Dan and Claire, you'll work together.
Right, see you down by the car.
Operation Boss is engaging with the
women who are street sex working.
It's reassuring the community that are affected,
and it's also enforcing against the guys that curb crawl.
All the women that are street sex
working in Bristol are Class A drug addicts.
They will do the business and then
they will, straight away, go and score.
We use the expression of clucking,
that, you know, that thing of when they're withdrawing,
the symptoms that they have are just so horrific that actually
they're just topping up all the time.
They are the most vulnerable women in Bristol, because they place
themselves at risk of great danger
every time they stand on that street corner.
RADIO: OK, so she's just walking
down Fishponds Road on the opposite side of the pavement.
And the man that had walked off with her
is now walking back up towards her.
Got about three minutes from pick-up to the sexual activity being
complete, so we haven't got very long,
-so this is like our golden couple of minutes.
-There they are.
-Police, police. You need to come out.
Police. You need to come out.
You need to come out, stay where you are, police, stay where you are.
You need to stay there. Stay there.
Because I don't know who you are, I'm going to handcuff you.
Listen. You're being detained at the moment cos I suspect you've
solicited a prostitute, OK?
Yeah, we've got the male detained down Sandy Lane by the flat.
They were found in the tiniest little place.
You can't imagine having sex with someone in this location.
The guy has decided that he wants legal advice so he can't be
interviewed in the car tonight. He's going to come back by appointment.
I'm obviously worried about you cos I keep seeing you out sex working.
-Why are you out tonight?
Basically, because I've got sort of a drug habit at the moment.
What drugs are you using?
Crack and heroin.
How long have you been using drugs for?
About eight years, on and off.
Do you get the same buzz as you got the first time?
No, no, you never will.
That's what you're always trying to chase, continuously.
And what's it like withdrawing from drugs?
It's unbearable. Hallucinations, agitation,
it's like the flu but 1000 times worse.
Do you feel like you're living at the moment?
My life is on hold at the moment.
Up until, like, two years ago,
I spent every Christmas with my family, but two years ago, it was
the first Christmas I literally spent on my own, didn't have no-one,
and that's all down to drugs.
Do you know what I mean? And before
I know it, another ten years is going to go by, and...
Well, all I hope is that in a year's time or whatever, you know,
you and I don't see each other,
or when we see each other we'll be able to have, you know,
a conversation around you and it'll be totally different, won't it?
Yeah. I hope so, definitely.
RADIO: I've not seen anyone.
Would you lovely people like a coffee at McDonald's?
I'll shout you a coffee.
RADIO: That's very kind, yeah.
KARYN: I can't actually do anything without taking drugs.
I find it very hard to have the motivation or energy to have a
shower, to straighten my hair, do my washing up,
do anything, without having a hit first.
I can't do anything.
This is crack.
Before I get my money,
I can't wait, I'm so excited, I can't wait for a smoke.
And the actual thought of doing it
is actually better than when I do it, cos when I do it, it's not
what I want, what I expect it to be.
I was 13 when I started smoking crack.
14, 15, when I started doing heroin.
I used to always run away from the children's home cos I
wanted to go back to my mum. And I'd run away.
And I asked someone for a cigarette,
and she gave it to me and asked what
I was doing walking through the park late at night.
And me, being naive and stupid, told her that I'd run away, blah, blah,
blah, and she said I could stay with her.
So I did, I went... And she had children,
so I thought she'd be all right with the woman.
But they always say, "Be careful of the bad men, the bad man."
There's lots of bad women out there.
They don't tell you that. And then she had me smoking crack and then
sleeping with the drug dealer after.
So that was how I started.
..I never stopped.
I don't feel much hatred towards her.
I feel more hatred towards myself
for being so naive and fucking stupid.
But I also have to keep telling myself I was only a youngster.
I've finished now, just about.
Everyone tells me that I need to get myself some willpower.
"Just be strong, get yourself some willpower. Stop, just stop,
"just don't do it."
If it was that fucking easy...
I'd give my right or left arm to have this obsession
taken away from me.
It's ruined my life.
I have no life, but...
..sometimes, I feel like I'm...
doing it even against my will, cos I don't want to do it.
I hate, sometimes, the way it leaves me feeling, but I'm still doing it.
I don't know why.
Clean up after myself.
And not leave anything
to show that I was even there.
-People kind of call it rock bottom.
In your lifetime, I think you have various ones.
But sometimes, you can't see it.
And sometimes, you can't grab that opportunity to change your life and
go the right way, you know?
Do you remember this?
This is, at, um...
Ooh, wait, I do.
-Where am I?
-Is that me?
-That's you. Yeah, that's you.
I remember... I remember having this.
Why did I put green on my face?
-Going through detox and rehab over and over again, it's,
like, really hard, but I really admire my mum for doing it.
It's really kind of inspiring.
These photos are of me when I moved to London...
..where I did a lot of my using.
-Who's that, is that you?
This was me and a couple of Portuguese mates
just rolling a joint, I think.
That's another friend of mine who died of Aids many, many years ago.
She had this baby over here.
-And he's dead as well.
He's the husband.
They were both HIV positive as well.
They both died with Aids at some point, her and him.
They also ended up catching HIV and
dying from Aids at some point.
If I think just about, kind of, partners and boyfriends that died
from, you know, active addiction, as a result of, you know,
all the drugs they took, there was...
..one, two, three, four, five...
There was eight that I can count.
I'm one of the few who, kind of, not just survived it,
but stopped taking drugs.
There's not really that many people from my adolescence and, kind of,
early adulthood that have survived it.
The turning point was when I
developed a type of pneumonia and I got really ill.
So ill that, "If I don't change my life,
"I'm going to die," kind of thing.
"If I don't stop taking drugs, I'm going to die."
Residential treatment is probably the best place, really,
for you to be successful.
There's lots of practical care that
they provide that makes you feel like
this is the most comfortable and cosy way in which I could detox,
which really helped.
-Can you manage those? Can I give you a hand?
-I'll be OK, thanks.
-Nice to see you.
-Yeah, thank you, and you.
I've been reducing my methadone...
-..and I've come to detox off of it.
-Unfortunately, another little mild heroin detox, er,
alcohol detox, and I was using a bit of heroin, the week before I
-And some crack.
I've hit a few rock bottoms.
I've lost six friends in the last four years.
-Mmm, I'm really sorry to hear that.
-You know, for years, I...
I could use and drink, and people wouldn't notice.
-It was getting to the point where it was very obvious
something was wrong.
-And...and, um, I could just see it ending in death or jail.
-And also, I feel I've got a lot to offer.
-There's stuff I want to do. I want to live life.
-I want to see things, experience things.
And, weirdly, for the first time in my life, like,
I've started thinking that perhaps I'd like children.
OK. Yeah, yeah.
-A few of my cousins have recently had kids...
-..and they're amazing.
VOICEOVER: I started using heroin when I was about 21.
I didn't get fully addicted till I was about 23.
So, it's about 12 years.
The main reason I was taking it is to cover up huge amounts of trauma -
being abused as a teenager,
my parents splitting up,
my relationship with my dad falling apart, being in a house fire.
As I was stood there in the street
watching my whole life burn down,
a heroin dealer passed me and offered me some heroin,
and...that was a better solution than killing myself.
It took all my pain away.
Heroin saved my life.
And some people might not be able to understand that,
but that was the reality.
You get so wrapped up in yourself and your addiction, sometimes,
you can't see the damage that you're doing to other people.
But I started to realise how much I'm hurting my family.
How much, you know, I'm hurting my mum.
I... I got to a place of hopelessness.
I've tried to kill myself through overdosing.
I've ended up injecting in my groin.
I've had a needle snap off in my groin.
If I don't stop, like, I'm going to lose my family, lose my limbs.
And ultimately, I could die.
It must be a constant battle to be able to resist that temptation.
And I think, for those of us that haven't had that,
we really don't know what that must feel like.
I think those people deserve all of our support,
whichever way or form we administer that.
For me, it might be arresting somebody.
But maybe that's the start of the next two years of their recovery.
Or, hopefully, the beginning of the end of their addiction.
This is the footage from the 24-hour shop.
-It's 20 past six in the morning, just after the burglary.
-That's the trainers.
-It's the exact same trainers, as well.
That's the stolen credit card from the burglary he's using.
It's all contactless there, so...
-It's all contactless.
That's definitely him, yeah.
But the one thing that you haven't got is his face.
Yeah. There you go. See, as soon as he comes in,
he's sort of bending over.
At no point does he look at the camera,
or do you get a clear shot of his face.
So, on that basis, he's going to get bail.
Yeah. You can't 100% ID him cos you haven't got his face, have you?
So now is the difficult bit, because I've got to go and tell the victim.
There we go, then. 8.29, all right?
See you later on, my babs, all right?
First of all, we thought we just misplaced a few things.
It weren't until I got a phone call from my wife saying that her bag's
missing, our cards have all gone.
The laptop was missing, gold earrings was missing,
the baby's changing bag was missing.
I can't stand him, honestly can't stand him.
Wait till he's breaking into your
home and taking your stuff when your kids are upstairs.
See how YOU feel.
Do you know what I mean?
I get it - as a police officer,
I understand that we need such a high level of proof.
But as the victim, quite rightly,
he's not going to be able to understand.
We get people in here who are obviously on drugs.
They're not breaking into our house or the shop,
they're not breaking into the cars. Do you see what I mean?
There's just...zero excuse for that.
I'm not your favourite officer, am I?
So, it was...
It was hard yesterday because all we've got is a guy
in a crack house...
-..with clothing around the place that we can
link to the CCTV shot.
So this is the items of clothing that we've got.
I think we've got the trainers.
-The jeans, perfect.
And we've definitely got that hi-vis jacket,
the sleeveless hi-vis jacket.
So, but we haven't got any face shots.
It's frustrating for you cos someone's burgled your house and
-your kids are upstairs.
-I know, I get it.
I'm not allowed to know where he lives, or what he does, where he
goes, but he knows everything about me.
-He knows what I look like and my kids look like.
He knows what my missus looks like.
My laptop had pictures of my kids on, as well.
He knows all of that, but I'm not allowed to know nothing.
And this is where it feels like the victims get left out the loop and
-the attention's on the...
-The rights are all on the person...
-Yeah, I know, I know.
I completely understand.
All I would say, though, is I know you're passionate about it and you
want someone. I want someone, as well.
-And I'm confident we'll get there, just leave it to us.
-And we'll do our thing.
-Yeah, I know. Obviously if anything
happens to him now, I'm the first person
they're going to knock on the door for.
-Yeah, I know that.
-Let us do our thing.
-I know you're frustrated, but...
-Yeah, it is, it's annoying.
-All right. Cheers, Andre.
Why do you let him out? You just want a whole world of pain to come
down, don't you, really?
-Yeah, course you do.
-You see what I mean?
In Saudi Arabia they don't put them in prison,
they cut their hands off. They don't care who's upstairs.
That's it, they don't care.
If he's got that much of an addiction that he's got to
keep doing it, what's going to stop him hurting someone?
And anyone who knows me, you can ask them. I am nice... I'm a nice chap.
But someone does that...
..I wouldn't throw a bucket of water on if they were on fire.
Oh, bloody hell!
I need some water.
What's this cough, Blake?
-I'm not a young carer or anything,
but I think I kind of have the mentality of one.
If there was one thing I could do for my mum,
I would make all her illnesses go away.
She's gotten rid of one really big illness already, which is Hep C.
But she's still got HIV and loads of other medical problems that really
kind of set her back.
Oh, that does nothing.
I don't know what to do!
-You're tapping my shoulder, rather than my back.
It's just not nice to see your mum that way,
cos she's ill all the time.
You've been coughing loads today and, like, you've only just got up.
I feel like a 90-year or
100-year-old woman when that happens.
It's just horrible.
What you should do is the one time when you get it really bad,
then just relax.
Like, literally don't do anything, you just look after yourself.
Like, eat food. Literally don't do anything,
-and then I bet you'll get better really quickly.
Love you too. OK, bye.
To me, HIV was just a disease that my mum had.
I could have got it from my mum giving birth to me,
but they had all these measures to stop that from happening.
But it's like a disease that's seen as, very kind of, hush-hush,
don't talk about it, it's a bad thing to have.
And you don't kind of realise that when you're a kid,
because you've grown up with this mum who's open, like,
to talking about it. She talks about
it with her friends, her friends are fine with it.
So you just have this kind of accepting bubble that you live in.
That's why he hangs around, isn't it?
To my friends, drugs are just things that are recreational.
And you take them for fun and they're not really anything serious.
But with me, because of my parents, it's something entirely different.
It's just hard to understand why
anyone would go near them in the first place.
TOM: To get rid of the opiates from my system,
I'm here for two weeks doing a detox
with as much medical and psychological support as possible.
-How are you?
I've been really shaking and sweating a lot.
If you could just relax that arm for me, that'd be great.
Are you normally anxious, or is this anxiety to do with withdrawing?
Some of the anxiety's definitely to do with withdrawal.
OK, cos we've got some anti-anxiety medication.
Coming into a detox unit, it's about ten times easier than a cold turkey.
Before, I just thought it was, you know, like a physical thing.
But the fact of the matter is it's, you know, it's far deeper than that.
It's...it's a physical, mental, emotional and a spiritual thing.
Any drug cravings?
Erm, I'm not really...
Just that thought that,
"Well, you might get away with using," keeps popping into my head.
I've actually got clean four times before,
but I've relapsed every time because I've never really looked at myself,
my pain, my traumas, my character defects.
-My dad died when I was 11 because of addiction.
We both went to Gloucester Cathedral when I was younger, and I had a
really nice memory from that.
I think I've still kind of got a very fluffy view of him.
Because I am aware that, you know,
he made really bad choices and definitely wasn't the perfect dad.
And I love focusing on the good memories and the good things he did.
And I think, overall, they outweigh the bad things.
So this is where you sat with him.
We were standing over there and he was looking up at that window,
and then I saw him crying.
And I asked him why, and he said because it was so beautiful.
-And I didn't really get it then.
-I just thought, "I guess he liked it cos he worked here."
-But now I kind of do.
It's just really sad.
So sad that he's not around any more.
So sad that he, you know, can't do the things he loved any more.
So sad that he chose to go down the
road that just kind of had him dead
when he was 50. I'm going to be 50 this year, you know.
And just kind of thinking, actually, with the life I'm leading and,
you know, and my health and stuff,
it looks like I actually have some prospects of kind of being around
for a while, you know? Seeing you grow up, growing older.
Maybe having children, you know, and all that kind of stuff, you know?
Like, you remember a couple months before he died,
I wrote him that letter saying that if I didn't see him, it would
give him, like, a push to, like, get better.
And I kind of...
I wanted him to, like...
..I thought he was close to getting better.
And then he just got worse.
The thing is, he probably...
you know, he didn't want it bad enough, did he?
Cos otherwise he would have. He would have got better, Rita.
But he just kind of...
..decided it wasn't worth it, which is just so, so sad,
cos he was such a special person, wasn't he?
He could have done so much more with his life if he had stuck around and
kind of made the right choices, really.
Even when he was in hospital, even then,
I had this kind of vision of the future where, like,
I'd help him get better
and he wouldn't, like, ever go near the stuff again.
And it would be like...
He would be, like, the dad I always wanted him to be.
Well, I suppose that's the thing about addiction being more powerful
than anything, isn't it?
And especially being more powerful than whatever love you have for
your, you know, for your family.
In this case, for him, it was his love for you, wasn't it?
My biggest fear is...
ultimately, ending up like my dad.
Just cos you leave so many people behind with so many questions
that, you know, you can't answer, and you can't help them.
One25's unique to Bristol.
It's a charity that's successful
in getting women out of the vicious
cycle of drug use and sex work.
It's just an amazingly safe-feeling place.
Only women are allowed in.
Karyn's been a drug user for many years.
Lots of childhood problems.
Lots of abuse problems.
After 20 years with heavy drug use,
about five years ago,
she was noticed to have deteriorating renal function,
diagnosed as chronic renal failure,
which we've been monitoring over the last...I'd say, yeah,
three to four years, slowly deteriorating.
She definitely will die if she doesn't start dialysis this year.
And when I went with her to see the renal consultant,
she asked him how she would die if she chose not to start, and...
..dying from renal failure isn't a bad death.
You just, kind of... Toxins build up
and you just gradually become sleepier, and...
it's not a painful death.
It could be quite an attractive way to die if you're a drug user,
so it's a real difficult decision for her.
But, yeah, my pain's pretty well-managed at the moment.
OK. And is there a problem with getting the patches changed every 72
hours, as opposed to having one that you change weekly?
Sometimes I put them on a day early.
If the pain's really bad, I've put
it on a day early to try and avoid...
-..me using. It's what I've been doing to avoid me using.
-And I don't know if that's...
-And you're not using?
And I'm not using, no.
And you said it's been six days?
It's been six days. Seven days tomorrow, yeah.
Fantastic. And that's really good, Karyn. That's really, really good.
You've not been using!
I mean, to think how bad it was.
And you're at the hostel and you're feeling safer there.
Yeah, and I'm doing more things round the hostel,
cooking and getting involved in
-other stuff going on in the hostel.
And I'm going to do dialysis now.
-I am going to do it.
-How am I going to tell my brother and sister that I'm not
going to do it, that I'm just going to kill myself?
I've got two nephews. How am I going to tell them that I'm just going to
kill myself? I don't even know where to begin that conversation with
them, so I'm not going to.
I'm going to do dialysis, so...
-Oh, that's brilliant, love.
-Really, really pleased that you feel like that.
So, welcome, everyone. So, today is your first community meeting.
So what we do is we go round, introduce ourselves,
say a little bit how we're feeling,
and then afterwards we'll just
discuss if there's any community issues.
Is there anybody that would like to start?
-Suppose I better start as I've been here the longest.
I'm Tom. I've been here a week.
It's going surprisingly well.
Physically, it's the easiest detox I've ever done.
Starting to get my emotions back for the first time in ages.
That's a bit weird. I woke up this morning and started crying for no
reason, don't know why. Just burst into tears.
Hadn't cried for God knows how long.
Well, since I was last here...
-The anger, the sadness, the remorse, guilt -
all of those experiences come rushing back.
The one thing that has emerged over
this week is I've never,
ever managed to get over my parents
splitting up and my dad leaving,
the way that it happened, and the deterioration of our relationship.
But now I'm at a point where, in my mind, I've forgiven him.
And, yeah, I just, you know, I want my dad back, you know.
I want to live a normal, happy life.
I want to be a son to my mum.
I want to be, you know, there for my brother.
My young brother Nathan's coming, and this will be the first visit
from him whilst I've been here.
I'm feeling nervous, really nervous.
But it's going to be really good to see him.
I'm sure it'll be quite emotional.
Hopefully he'll be really pleased with, you know, my progress.
I'll leave you to it, guys.
How you feeling, bro?
-You look good.
I'm off everything and I feel better, I guess.
-I just did a lot more work on the build-up to this.
Like, I wasn't using anywhere near as much.
-I just did it properly, really.
When do you leave?
How you feeling?
Nervous, excited, happy, worried.
-You name it.
-It's going to be great.
-I kept it secret from him for quite a long time.
Cos he's ten years younger and I wanted to protect from it.
And I guess cos our dad wasn't about,
he looked up to me as a role model,
so I feel that I've really let him down because of that.
Hopefully, I'll be able to, you know, have a strong recovery and
make, find ways to make things up to him.
Nice one, man. Take care.
We're having healthy option food tonight.
Which just kind of means meat, maybe some halloumi, some salad,
some sauce in a pitta.
If you've got a bit of coriander in there and a bit of hummus, it's
Right, we've got information that's come in.
Tony, the burglar, is somewhere around those flats.
He's been seen in the area.
And the good news is he slipped up.
His face is now on CCTV using stolen
credit cards after the burglary.
This time, he's not going to get bail.
Right, here we are.
So I'm reckoning we just sit tight for a bit.
If they've already gone back out,
and then they come across this way,
the first time they're going to see
us is when they're pretty much head on, and we'll make a positive ID.
And then we'll literally just go out and grab them.
If he gets arrested tonight,
then we stop people's houses getting broken into for the next few nights.
-He's just on a spree, isn't he?
-He is, a mad one.
He must be desperate if he's breaking into people's houses
when they're asleep upstairs.
Not just morally, but because of the risk to them as well -
-the homeowner coming downstairs and smashing their face in.
I'll go and have a recce inside...
-..go and have a look at some of the doors,
see if any of them look shit.
Yeah. Right, be safe.
In a bit.
That's our man. Get ready.
INDISTINCT RADIO CHATTER
Let me have a look at your ID.
Right, I'm going to spray you, so let your hands go.
-Right, I've arrested you before.
-Can I look at your ID, please?
Right, Tony, I'm going to spray you...
..cos one of us is going to get run over in a minute.
Right, you're under arrest, by me...
..for burglary at Freedom Terrace.
You're linked to that offence by CCTV.
Bring him up.
-I haven't searched him yet.
It does really feel like, at times, that there's no end in sight.
It feels like the handcuffs that you're putting on that individual
today, you're going to be here next week,
next month, next year doing exactly the same again.
People are allowed to go through this revolving door of the criminal
justice system, year after year,
decade after decade,
but will go back to the addiction.
What would you put your lack of memory down to?
-What drugs are we talking about, Tony?
-Heroin and crack.
Heroin and crack.
And how often do you use heroin?
-How often do you use crack?
-How much heroin do you use a day?
-Much as I can get me hands on.
Do you want to talk to me at all about your current lifestyle?
I've been on drugs all my life.
I've come to Bristol...
Yeah, come up here for a new start.
It's been going well and then I sort of split up with my girlfriend about
two year ago.
-Two years ago.
-Oh, no, not even, about a year ago.
-Yeah, about a year ago, and just got slowly back involved with drugs.
-So you spiralled back into drug use about a year ago, did you?
And I haven't been able to get back out of it.
BEN: From a government level,
there has to be more emphasis on tackling the addiction.
I think that if we were to do that,
then we would have less people
committing acquisitive crime.
Come on, boy.
I really appreciate how precious and how, sometimes, short life can be,
so I try to live in the moment and as fullest as I can.
But I still have an illness that limits my quality of life because of
A third of the time, I'm unable to look after myself, you know.
Pip stands for Personal Independence Payment,
and it's basically the financial help
to allow me to live independently.
Like the days that I can't look after myself or look after my
daughter or look after the dog,
then I've got some kind of funds to get in a taxi and
still kind of, you know, go to my hospital appointment.
I've just had my Pip entitlement denied.
And I disagree with that decision.
And now the next step is to go through the appeal process.
OK. So we've basically done your Pip application.
You've been to the medical.
And this is their decision...
..which was to award zero points for every area.
-I feel like she didn't hear me.
I feel like she didn't hear me.
I felt like she didn't really have great understanding, you know,
of my medical condition.
She didn't seem to understand what was the effects of living with HIV
and what was the side-effects from being on long-term medication.
I mean, really, it's the complex medical history and the long-term
-effects of having lived with HIV for 25 years.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Hep C for...however long.
Well, Hep C since I was 18, really.
I got rid of it two years ago, but...
-But ultimately I would be expecting it to go to tribunal.
And I think that is the best place, given...
-..such a poor outcome at this level,
for them to really hear your case.
Even in those areas that I think,
you know, I've got no difficulties whatsoever,
-at times I do, you know.
It's just, like, I don't want to acknowledge it, cos if I acknowledge
it I feel like I've lost, you know.
I've lost this, kind of...
life that I've been trying to build for myself.
-And trying to be as independent as I can be.
It's had such a...
..impact in my kind of wellbeing,
-that I just kind of want it over and done with.
TOM: After a two-week detox...
..yeah, it feels good.
I can feel.
It's strange, but it's nice.
At first, I was so, sort of, attached to my old lifestyle
that I was finding it hard to let go,
but then as I went through the detox,
and I started to get my clarity back,
and a clear mind,
I realised that it was much better just to go straight to rehab.
It's much safer. It's easier.
And it's the wise thing to do.
In my mind, it is going to work out for me.
However, if it doesn't work, then it's a case of just regrouping,
picking up the pieces and trying again.
And anybody who works in this area will tell you that most addicts take
five or six attempts before they actually stay clean for the rest of
I mean, I'm on attempt five now, so
hopefully it should work out OK.
If I'm honest, I'm afraid.
I feel very vulnerable admitting that, but that's the truth.
BEN: People's addiction will peak and trough.
So I'll see somebody and the first thing they want to tell me is, "Just
"to let you know, I've been clean for two years."
And that is a real big milestone and a big achievement.
And then I just see people that...
..seem to use drugs until the end.
Have a look in at his previous.
He's not your usual criminal.
-He's a career criminal.
He's got 48 pages on PNC of burglary, assault and theft.
That is a pretty impressive resume.
-His first ever offence,
pleaded guilty to a burglary in 1988.
I was at nursery school then.
He's probably one of those people, they first tried a bit of heroin
when they're in their, like, early teens.
-Yeah, yeah. And then that's it, game over, then.
Hello, Tony. I've got some charges to read out.
Six charges, Tony,
for dwelling burglary between the 5th of the 10th, 2016 and the 6th
of the 10th, 2016.
Have entered, as a trespasser, a
dwelling and stole therein a handbag,
a Samsung tablet,
and cash to a value of unknown...
VOICE INSIDE: Police!
-Hello. You all right?
-Fine thank you, and you?
Yeah, do you want to come out and have a chat?
So, good news.
-He was finally charged with the burglary on your address.
And he was charged with five other burglaries as well.
He has been remanded in custody.
When he was interviewed, he said that he's got a really bad drug
habit, and he's in some debt in relation to his drugs, and he
basically gave a cock and bull story as to why he was in
possession of stolen cards.
If he has a trial over it and it goes the wrong way for him,
he's looking at a really substantial sentence.
What, five, six, seven, eight?
He got off with a bucket of money.
Then, think of all the times that he's been offered help with his
drug habit and something's not quite clicking, is it?
So, the only way to stop him...
-Well, he doesn't want help, does he? Obviously not.
He's happy doing what he does.
You only let him out two days after and he done it again,
so you might as well just bang him up, throw away the key.
He's no good to society, is he? What good is he to us?
-It's true, though, isn't it?
-In my mind, I think you might try drugs
and then you get into it and you commit crime.
Then you think you should come out the other end,
especially at that age after you've
-been doing it so long, but that's not the case with this one.
-Yeah. Thanks, Chris.
-All right, nice to speak to you.
-All right, mate?
-You take care.
-Cheers, mate. Bye.
For me, the kung fu's been a really important part of my recovery.
It's worth getting out, meeting some new people and exercise is just
It's like a natural high.
I decided that maybe staying in Bristol wasn't the best option.
So I ended up coming to rehab in Cornwall and it was one
of the best decisions I ever made.
As a recovering addict, I guess, like,
my area of expertise is addiction.
It would be great to, like, give something back,
maybe mentoring some people, help other fellow addicts who are
It would almost help me give some sort of meaning to all the chaos
that I've been through.
So it's not just all negative.
Some positive has come from it.
-To stop taking drugs is just the beginning, really,
and I think very few people realise that.
Ew! That's gross.
Oh, Blake, you're going to stink!
Look at that.
-It's really hard to get out of the place that you're in,
and it takes years and years. It could take decades.
It could take the rest of your life, really.
What are you looking for, Blake?!
Even after all the meetings and, like,
treatment and rehab and everything.
And having, like, a family, even after all that,
I know that there's still going to be temptations for my mum.
I'm aware that it's, kind of, really
easy for my mum to go back to square one,
and I'm very proud of her that she hasn't yet,
and I believe that she won't ever go there again.
-It's going to be almost
two months since I had my 50th birthday.
Can't quite believe that, you know, I've made it here, really.
And I thought I'd never live to see 30.
And now, here I am,
definitely feeling better than ever before, you know?
Do I have to look at you?
-You have to look at the lens.
-Rita's 15 now...
..which means I've got to be around at least for another 20 years,
cos it would be really cool to, kind of, be a grandma, you know?
Being an addict can happen to anyone.
There are people who've had it way worse than my mum and my dad.
But no matter how kind of low you get...
..there's always, like, an exit button.
Every single person on this planet,
and that includes people like the Dalai Lama, OK,
are fallible human beings.
We make bad choices at times.
It makes us human.
I'm massively inspired by the psychotherapist in rehab.
For a free poster with information about drugs and their effects on
..or go to the address below
and follow the links for the Open University.
From the chaos of a burglar who steals every night to the dangers facing street sex workers, a mum in long-term recovery looking after her daughter and the user going into an assisted detox unit, the challenge of breaking free from the shackles of addiction is daunting. And for most, the stakes could not be higher - get clean or face death.