Northern Ireland news

'My daughter is fighting for her life - drugs have torn our family apart'

Courtney Ashe (18) is in intensive care following a drugs overdose
Mairead Holland

THE mother of an 18-year-old girl who is in intensive care after a drugs overdose says more help is needed to help addicts and their families.

Courtney Ashe was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital on Sunday after being found at a house in the New Lodge area of Belfast.

It is understood she had just got engaged and a party was being held to celebrate.

Speaking to The Irish News yesterday, her mother Pauline said her daughter had been placed in an induced coma.

"She has tubes and drips everywhere, she is on a breathing machine and they have put a neck brace on her too. Because she is over 18, they can't tell me what drugs she was on," she said.

"I got a phone call to say she was in intensive care. She had been sick and the vomit went into her lungs and she has a big bump on her head as well."

Courtney Ashe (18) has been placed in an induced coma after a drugs overdose

Ms Ashe said her daughter had "fallen in with the wrong people" and had been using hard drugs for the past three years.

She said: "She is a lovely wee girl when she is not on drugs - she loves animals and make-up and hair and beauty.

"When she was found, she still had dye in her hair. She must have been starting to put it in.

"But when the drugs kick in, the lies start and she can go missing for a week. We don't know where she is and then she comes back again.

"I am constantly walking the floors. It is just breaking my heart. Drugs have torn my whole family apart."

Belfast teenager Courtney Ashe

The comments came as a charity called for an urgent overhaul of services available to people hooked on drink and drugs. Addiction NI has urged government departments to work together to update policies and help reduce the stigma of addiction.

Recent figures also show that the number of men dying from drug-related causes has increased by 98 per cent in the last 10 years. Alcohol related deaths among both men and women are also on the rise.

The Belfast woman added: "I have been to the Ulster Hospital four times in the past with her. They told me they can't do anything with her until she is off the drugs.

"I told them, 'Does she have to be lying across my front window before I get help?' Now she is in hospital fighting for her life.

"There is not enough help out there. I have nobody to talk to to help me cope."

Eighteen-year-old Courtney Ashe is in the intensive care unit of Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital.

Ms Ashe said her daughter had been referred to outreach group Daisy (Drug and Alcohol Intervention Service for Young People) but "it didn't work".

"She should have been admitted somewhere. If we had got that help it wouldn't have come to this," she said.

"Once Courtney gets out, she is going to need rehabilitation and counselling. I need to get her help."

A spokesman for the Royal Victoria Hospital yesterday described the teenager's condition as "stable".

A spokesperson for the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust said: “The trust is not in a position to comment on individual cases.  We would ask the parents to make contact with our Patient Liaison Team who can investigate the issues and respond directly.”

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