DEALERS who don't use the insidious drugs they peddle should be treated "like serial killers" because they know they're destroying lives, says a grandmother from the Lismore region.
The woman, who didn't want to be named, is raising three of her grandchildren due to her daughter's ongoing battle with heroin and amphetamine addiction.
Over a 15-year period, the woman said she had spent all her savings and superannuation trying to help her daughter, including paying for anti- addiction implants and rehabilitation in England and Adelaide.
She still remembers the day her daughter became addicted to heroin at 15.
"At that time heroin was a gigantic problem around Perth," she said. "She went to a friend's house, and I always checked people out first, and if you've got a child that's an addict, especially an older one, you don't tell people.
"Her friend's elder sister, who was an addict, came home for the first time in months that day and shot my daughter up.
"She hadn't done alcohol, she hadn't tried marijuana or the other things young people used; she tried heroin once and that was it.
"I started noticing money going missing and she was truanting school, then she came to me one day and said, 'Mum is there any reason you would stop loving me?'.
"I said no, and she said, 'Mum I am a heroin addict', and that was it - the beginning of hell."
The woman said by the time her daughter was 19, she was stealing in order to support her $800 a day habit. She was also pregnant with her first child.
"After two to three years using she said she was delivering heroin to major businesses in Perth," she said.
When she was 23, the daughter's third child was born and she decided to get a naltrexone implant so heroin would not affect her.
"Her babies were born addicted to heroin, especially her first child," she said. "They were given medication to help them withdraw, which for the first baby took nearly a year."
When she got the implant, which she later removed herself, the woman said her daughter began using ice.
"I told her to go back to using heroin because I was scared she'd kill somebody," she said.
The woman said she never gave up hope on her daughter.
"As a mother, and she was my only child, you'd do anything to help," she said.
In 2009, the woman said she moved to the Northern Rivers from Western Australia to give her grandchildren a better life.
The woman's daughter, who has since given birth to three more children, has been on the methadone program for many years.
"I love my daughter and have always been there for her," she said.
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