A film-maker is trying to trace recovering heroin addicts from a Chester housing estate who featured in his ITV documentary almost 30 years ago with a view to a possible follow-up programme.
Producer-director David Cohen made the original film Kicking the Habit which aired in July 1985 looking at ways in which addiction could be overcome and the help available to addicts at the time.
ITV has now asked Mr Cohen to try and find out what happened to the people who featured in the programme, including mothers from the Blacon estate who were helping their sons battle heroin.
Mr Cohen, who lives in London, said: “In making the film I looked at the sometimes drastic steps parents took to get their children off drugs.
“I am trying to find the mothers who were on the Blacon estate. Janice was the Christian name of one of them and her son was called Russell. The aim is to do a unique 30-year-long follow up to see what happened to the mothers and their children.”
In the show Janice told viewers: “My son was up in court for committing burglaries. He had had to burgle houses to feed his habit. He had gone up to £40’s worth a day and although he was working, he couldn’t maintain his habit. He wasn’t earning enough money.”
Specialists working for the local NHS told Janice her son Russell couldn’t be seen for six weeks and to watch him constantly.
She recalled: “If he tried to run out, which he did, I used to run after him and I used to take a whip or the dog chain, anything, and get him back in.”
Russell admitted it worked because such scenes had 'shown him up' in front of his pals. Janice said another mother put her son on a 20 foot long chain. The parents also made sure their sons gave regular urine tests to check for opiates.
Janice added: “Out of all the boys and girls that we’ve been involved with, we’ve only had three slips. That’s out of 30 youngsters.”
Just before the end credits rolled it was revealed Russell was drug-free and working on a building site.
Film director Mr Cohen hopes anyone involved with the group who featured will get in touch as part of his initial research. Any replies will be treated in total confidence. He can be contacted through reporter David Holmes at the Chronicle on 01244 606412 or via his own email: firstname.lastname@example.org.