Mum Heroin and Me (4 stars)

Mum Heroin and Me

Channel 4, Thu 23 Oct, 9pm


A loving mother is driving her daughter into town for a special 21st birthday treat. In between a massage and hairdresser appointment, Hannah asks her mum to make a quick stop. But she’s not popping to the shops for a chocolate bar or a copy of Heat; Hannah is meeting up with a dealer to score some smack. Depressing as this scene is, the images of Hannah painfully trying to find a working vein for her needle is even more likely to have the tabloids hopping mad. Yet this documentary by Jane Treays (whose previous films about youngsters in bother include Painted Babies and A Child’s Life) is likely to have more impact in letting the public view the real horror of drug dependency than a thousand screaming headlines. With previous working titles of Brighton Girl and Hannah’s Story, the makers eventually plumped for Mum, Heroin and Me, certainly a more eye-catching name and one that gets straight to the heart of this modern tragedy.

While Hannah’s mother appears unwavering in support for her daughter’s ‘illness’, it transpires that just prior to the 12-month shooting of this film, Kate suffered a no-holds barred breakdown. Trying to see beyond Hannah’s mindset, which focuses solely on where the next fix might be coming from, Kate digs deep to remember the girl she once knew; it’s a traumatic and difficult process, which can only be propped up by uncompromising parental love. Whether the opinion-formers within the printed press will be quite so understanding and sensitive to their plight remains to be seen.


1. stephanie @wppl.biz23 Oct 2008, 10:34am4 stars Mum Heroin and Me Report

Mum Heroine and Me,
Have not seen the full thing yet - but have been in a very similar place
and being cut off from your family is NOT the answer.You learn to live without them - painful though it is and the road to recovery and normality is very very long - without them it is desolate and lonely.
I got to the end of the road and now live a balenced and useful life - bur still without my family - parents have died and sisters do not want to know - left it too late - left it too long.
Wish Hannah and her Mum much love and lots of luck.

2. ERICA23 Oct 2008, 9:46pm5 stars Mum Heroin and Me Report

I am in the same position with my 30 yr old daughter. she has a heroin addiction. she is a lovely girl and has ruined her life. she has three children two have been adopted and her eldest daughter was abandond age 6 after spending her life with her mum. my daughter started the habit age 14 yrs, lived on the street until she got pregnant at 22yrs. she went through a programme, worked hard and came off drugs just before giving birth. her life seemed to come together, she got a house, learned to drive and loved her little girl then it all fell apart? now she is back on drugs, in and out of prison had two other children and left them in hospital after giving birth. i dont know why, we had a good relationship not sure where it went? dont here from her only on occassions maybe when in trouble. she has bad DVT caused by needle abuse. Bad health problems and i am so scared one day i will get a call saying she is dead somewhere. i just dont know what to do? all my family and friends love her and so do i. after watching this show i think mum is wonderful and wish them both all the luck in the world and it has made me understand maybe what my daughter was going through and i did not see it.

3. weebirdey23 Oct 2008, 10:14pm Report

I was not impressed by this documentary. I work with injecting drug users and i felt that this was not a true refelction of what it is really like to live a life of a drug user. Not everyone is as lucky to fly off to south africa for 5 months and detox. I feel empathy for Hannahs boyfriend who had no-one in his life and a serious drug addiction. Hannah has all the support in the world to get through her addiction. Unfortunatly this isnt true for all injectors. This documentary paints a very wrong message. As for the mother, she needs help in understanding how to get her child through an addicition rather than feeding her addicition.

4. lilac23 Oct 2008, 10:40pm Report

This show really brought back alot of memories for me.I was also a heroin addict in Brighton.In a very similar situation at the same age.Shoplifting,begging,borrowing,stealing ,rehabs,trying to get clean every which way but the pull of those drugs were stronger than me.It was utter chaos.I put my mother through the same thing and it is very harrowing to watch that program .I feel very guilty.I got clean a few times and then relapsed again and again.I finally stopped for good when I was about 25 ,only coz I knew I was gonna die.Even then I relapsed again a few years ago for a few months.I am 32 now.i almost died because I was getting the most amazing chest pain when I was doing heroin and cocaine together one after the other.Like mini heart attacks except they are called spasms.Now although I am clean I dont have a day without chest pain.I can barely walk to the bus stop without pain usually.I have no strength, i dont go out at night.I have chest pain and preassure daily.I feel like a time bomb.I have no hope of a future ,children ,jobs even a boyfriend.My life has been ruined with heart disease.I wish I knew back then what I was doing.But I was too stoned and couldnt see further than my next fix.I want to tell people that yes you have a big chance of overdose with these drugs ( my friend died on one hit) but also the consequences can be that you ruin your health for good and die very young.It takes a toll on your body.I have bone ,liver and heart disease.I hope that girl can understand that basic fact of survival and that all drugs do is kill.Good luck to her.

5. bev23 Oct 2008, 11:03pm Report

both my kids were on heroin for a long time as a mum i know what perents go through with them. i did everything i could to get my kids off heroin the tough way and the loving way,but nothing worked untill i saved enough money to take them to have a naltrexone implant which was put in the groin which last for one year.they are now doing very well that was 7 yrs ago. these implants are available free in some cases but only if they are ask about.

6. seats4023 Oct 2008, 11:42pm Report

i was on heroin for 10 years i was sick of trying to get help the only time that i did i got put in jail then i lost the methadone so we i got out i went back to injection until i got rushed to hosptial with a sised in which i was close to death when i went back to court for haveing drugs on me the sheriff gave me a chance to go to dtto drug treatment testing order that then help me but what the drugs have done to my health is i dont go outside on my own i cant do things the way normal people do i lost my family my mother died known that my life had gone to hell as thats the only place that you go when your takeing heroin good luck to all drug users we are not all bad

7. paula196824 Oct 2008, 12:10am4 stars Mum Heroin and Me Report

I was started using drugs at 12, simular to hannah, eventally progressing to herion age 26, and i stayed that way for the next 10yrs.I watched the programme.And saw my self, and many other addicts.Because addicts are all the same manipualative, sly,.I knew everything they were going to do and say.I finally got clean at 36.The only reason i got clean was tough love, aw believe me people tried to help over the years.The day i new i had to get help, was when i woke up on morning, and no one was there.My only daughter who was a teenager didnt want to know, my mother and siblings had , had enough.If i had a mother like Hannah i would still be using today,the women was a classic rescuer, and Hannah will never get clean with her around.I was watching it, and wandering who was the most ill,hannah or her mum.If i had some one giving me money for drugs,silk bedding, getting my hair coloured,massages, why would i give up.also i wanderd who needed who, the mother needed to get a life,ooh it got me soo angry.The women was nuts.Gives daughter tenner to score, then sits and waits while she has a dig,then hands over a lovley prezzy, here you go hannah, thats for been a herion addict.Dont know about hannah needing rehab, the mother defo needs some seriouse therapy,

8. jac24 Oct 2008, 12:37am Report

My son was an addict for about 7 years he did try getting clean a couple of times but it did'nt really work out. And yes he stole from us
and he was homeless. One night when it was really frezing i got up about 1.30am and went looking for him i found him and brought him home. You see we had an understanding the gear would call to him loud and clear and then he would pick up his sleeping bag and go what ever the weather, season or time. As a mother what do you do if you cut all ties then they really are on their own but they are always still with you in your head wondering if they have eaten where are they sleeping. At least if you say to yourself this is who they are and see them often. And yes you know that knock is going to come to your door one day and my door knocked very early one morning.

9. darren mccullough24 Oct 2008, 11:20am Report

my heart goes out to that mother i fell into drugs at a early age like alot of young people today , i was bullied a bit to at school to which isn,t nice , i got into herion an crack an almost lost my life, i decided to leave london an move to ireland to try an beat my addiction ,this was eleven yrs ago an to this day i never relasped it was hard an still is,i,ve sister who lives in brighton who had kidney failure she needed a transplant so i offerd to help her out an donate one to her, thankfully everything went well an she,s alive an well , if i didn,t give up gear this would not of been possible, that young girl will beat drugs an by moving her from her enveirment she,ll beat it ..i hope she does love darren

10. Someone24 Oct 2008, 10:49pm Report

Something I need to know. When I was younger I lived and moved within drug taking circles. I had a very disturbed upbringing and lived in a range of squats as a teenager. During this time I experimented with LSD (frequently), speed and dope as well as overdosing on over-the-counter drugs that presented similar effects (i.e. swallowing inhailers, overdosing on collis brown and do-do tablets - yep 1970's). Most of my friends and partners also took wide range of drugs. However, I knew that despite moving within these circles there was no way I would try herion or related 'addictive' drugs. Why? Because I knew I had an addictive personality and knew that if people could become addicted very easily (having seen friends become addicted - even my best friend who became addicted because her partner was addicted) to herion it must be good therefore it would be a big mistake to even try it! Why then? Why oh why do people still take herion when they must move in druggy circles and know many people who have succumed and died from herion. Why try a drug that is potentially extremely addictive and destructive. So totally illogical. My heart bleeds for you all - addicts and relatives.

Incidentally, since moving within this self destructive environment I have mothered two children who have subsequently both achieved degrees whilst i have also gained a degree myself and teach primary aged children!

So back to the question - to start taking herion you must know people who have become addictited - so why start?????? People who take herion are already aware of the risks having moved in the drug taking circles - so why do it??????? I simply don't understand!

11. funkymonkie25 Oct 2008, 7:49am Report

This documentary has done what it intended to do and that is get people talking about Heroin addiction! Whether or not you agree with the actions of the daughter or mother, I dont feel it is for anyone to judge. As a mother of two young girls I was horrified at the waste of life and opportunity that Hannah had. It proved that it is not about class and can affect anyone regardless of background. It doesn't make it more sad for her and her mother because they had more in life than most. It makes it sad for anyone in this position. Society is particularly snobby though as Hannah was a pretty girl and to people did not look like what some people would think a junkie would look like. As her and her mum looked respectable people would pity them yet look down on others who do not have the same support or maintenance for themselves or their habit. If it was a documentary about someone from a different background would it spark the same reaction? No it would be their own fault! They probably wouldn't do a documentary! What got me thinking most was that I don't know what I would do if I was ever unfortunate enough to be in her Mothers position. A Mothers love is unconditional and her mother was doing what she felt best. It might not be what other people feel is right. I don't know what i'd do and hopefully will never be faced with it. It would be torture. Nobody truly does know what they would do unless they are in the same situation.

12. adamjhanon27 Oct 2008, 10:03pm4 stars Mum Heroin and Me Report

I just wanted to wish Hannah, her mother and family and Ricky well.

13. richard hallen30 Oct 2008, 9:16pm Report

well i would like to start by say that i am ricky barrs nephew, and and the one day when we were sat at home we had a phone call off the hospital or something like that and we collected him, and he stop at my moms, which is his sisters, and he stopped for a few days, but then started taking ova my room and used it for drug related activitys, which was very unstuitable for me, and then the one day he left with hannah, and also stole my mothers, which is his sisters laptop and also a couple of presious coins which my grandfather which was his dad, passed down to my mother, for the children e.g me, (richard hallen) my sister( abbigail hallen) and mi brother (christopher hallen) they were well hidden as my mum said so he must have searched the hole house for valuble things which must of ment he would of took more things, both him and hannah left the house with all there belongins including the laptop and coins and whatever else they had taken except the used needles and wipes, which i find absolutely digusting, id like to think i am living a better life than him now as i am in the ministry of defence i.e the army, and have bin for about 1 and a half now, and am doin well for my self.
I hope ricky and hannah and her family read this as it left my mother in a very bad state for about 2 months.
If any of his or her family read this i would still like to keep in contact with him as he is family,but i would never trust him in my personel surroundings again.

Richard Hallen

14. mackim14 Nov 2008, 9:13pm Report

This program was wonderful, its such a hushed subject that most families cannot comprehend it can happen to them. My life was crushed when my 17 year old daughter confessed to me on boxing day she was an addict. I wept for days for my lost child and mentally prepared myself for the inevitable ending, with the knock on the door telling me she was dead.
However, after several failed attempts she eventually went on methadone and over the next year through sheer stubborness, determination and amazing support from her drug support counsellor came through at the other end.
I now have my loving caring daughter back, she has made me so proud and I just want other parents and relatives to know, that despite all the negativity it is possible for some to turn their lives around and return to us. I was continually told that she wouldnt succeed, but she has. She has been completely of methadone for more than 6 months now and is planning a career as a drugs support worker.

15. mary27 Jan 2009, 11:34pm5 stars Mum Heroin and Me Report

hi i was watching the progamme her mother was so helpful and it do put the family under a lot of stress my husband was a herion addict and now my sister is i got her in to a rehab but she is back to square one again i am tired i cant help her again she has to do it herself but i dont think she will not for a while yet anyway she has to hit rock bottom before she stopped i never had a drug addiction thank god but i have seen a lot of it in my life

16. mary27 Jan 2009, 11:42pm Report

hi richard i no u and ur mom are upset but it was the drugs that made him do that u have to remember that

17. Maria28 Jan 2009, 12:39am Report

If it helps anyone. When my daughter relapsed last year, we were finding it extremely difficult to get help. I was going to take months to get her into a rehab and we could not afford to go private. (Yet at the same time I have read that about a dozen rehabs were closing. Clouds near Shaftesbury was only half full! (unlike the local prison - full of those already imprisoned by this awful tragedy of drug culture that is sweeping our country and eating the souls of its victims and destroying theirs and the lives of those around them). She went onto methadone again. As any truthful doctor would tell you, this is the devils juice, is extremely difficult to get off of and addicts constantly relapse onto heroin whilst on it. Watching the documentary brought a lot back to me. It is heart breaking. ......I looked on the net and found a Hypno-Analyst who worked with addictions, who agreed to assess her. From the very first session I could see a change in her. She went in very erratic and came out much calmer. Over the next 6 - 12 sessions, she changed quite dramatically. her whole pattern of thinking changed and was much clearer. She was still on methadone and blames this for her occasional short relapses. But just after Xmas she went to stay with a family member and, with the aid of subotex, gotten illegally, she got herself off of methadone (something we had tried and failed before). It is early days, but there is no doubt in my mind that the Hypno-Analysis has had an impact. It is not cheap but if anyone wants to consider it. It may help someone - I hope so. For more info,the Clinic we went to is called Hampshire Hypnotherapy Centre and has a website at: We saw James Holmes. I know he won't mind me mentioning his name. He may know of therapists who may be able to help with addiction, elsewhere in the country. Good luck

18. Maria28 Jan 2009, 12:57am Report

And For Richard
Try to forgive. Remember that the gentlest of people can be changed by drugs. It is not the addicts who are evil but the drug barons and those responsible for fuelling the drugs trade. Your uncle is just another victim. No, you cannot trust people on drugs and we avoid them because we cannot deal with them. But if you are to blame anyone, blame those who are really responsible - because that is the bigger issue. It is those people that need to be dealt with.

19. Jim Cambridge7 Feb 2009, 12:45pm Report

I have found a fantastic hypnotherapy practice, and mind-works centre in Hampshire, in the South East. Based in centre of Winchester, the hypnotherapists that I have seen and my friends has helped so much, and i am proud to say im a recovering addict, it has taken so long to change, and with the hypnotherapists help in Winchester, at Redwood Health Therapies it really helped. The address of their site for anyone who needs it is; and - Hope this helps

20. judd17 Feb 2009, 6:56pm Report

I sympathise with a lot of what has been said, we are bringing up 3 grandchildren because their parents are addicts

21. Lin26 Feb 2010, 11:42pm5 stars Mum Heroin and Me Report

I wrote this following the programme: Dear Future Me, as an email to the future delivered 1 year on.
Last night you watched spellbound, the program Mum, Heroin & Me on TV. You sat, still; hardly wanting to breath incase you disturbed the rapt concentration that held your muscles and frame taught like wire on the sofa. The warm cosy lounge, a stark contrast to the images of bleak doorways and blue sleeping bag containing a precious human life dreaming away its very being in a fog of heroin. Hannah - such a pretty girl - lost. Her mother bleeding invisible tears just like me, through the eloquent and descriptive analytical thoughts and replies to the interviewer's questions. Touching your very soul with her voice. You were looking at a stranger's face speaking out all the words and experiencing all the pain you have experienced - still do. Like a flash back it was me, it wasn't me, neon stabs at my heart. You remember you couldn't believe all that was shown you have experienced one way or another, even the blood spattered up the walls. And Paul has experienced far more than Hannah and her boyfriend shown in the documentary. He witnessed the death of a user/friend. He has been stabbed, burnt, beaten and threatened and chased for his life. He has been abused and used, made to wait for hours in the pouring rain for some promised gear as he was watched by the dealer and then as a laugh, sold cruel rubbish gear. He has said he was seen as a joke, an item to be ridiculed . He got used to see either the look of ridicule, revulsion, hatred or pity in the eyes of people. He was found collapsed in doorways or in lay-bys and ditches. It is so horrendous that all this has been and is to an extent the life of my son. Someone in our family --- who ever would have dreamt this, would be the Paul we remember as a little curly haired boy. The look in the eyes of Hannah and her boyfriend are the eyes that look out from Paul’s face a window into his lost soul. The slurred speech, damage to veins and the pain of finding places to inject, continued frustration and random behaviour and the lies and promises. The world of broken dreams and smashed hopes time and time again. The urge to push the self-destruct button each time he gets close to kicking the habit. It feels (as a mum) like you are on a high of a new beginning - like standing on the edge of a chasm but with a hand to help you jump across, - the promise of making a start to be clean; then, it is whipped away just as you step forward. The following deep dropping feeling and the smash of your emotions and the breaking of your heart as you hit rock bottom becomes the yoyo of emotions experienced. I do hope Hannah is still alive and wish her Mum strength. Paul died 10th February 2009

22. sheena5 Mar 2010, 12:38am Report

I watched this documentary just before flying out to India. When the couple moved into a flat in Brighton my instincts told me it was my sons flat. My son had gone to prison and later admitted into a mental health hospital. When the couple left the flat it was in squalor. One of my other sons had been paying for the flat after getting his brother off the streets. He was only in it for a couple of months. My son paid rent on the flat for over a year. My other son has had a huge lawyers bill. It almost cost him his business. I would like to know how this flat came into the couples possession. If the flat had been paid for by the couple or whether the landlord had taken rent from both parties.

I have never been able to get to the bottom of this even after i contacted the programme.

My sons life has been ruined by drugs and mental health. He always attracted people who took advantage of him. I wish there was someone who could help with getting him rehabilitated before his life is cut short. The mental health system has let him down so badly.

23. a mcvay20 Apr 2017, 7:10am Report

Cant believe that this guy ricky is doing it again living off another young girl. Not the first time.someone I know had a child to this guy and he put it into care coz this gril was sent to prison for selling drugs to feed this guys drug abbit andd thats not all he made her he is living off another young girl. Scumbag is all I can say about men like him if u cant look after a partner as the man don't have one never mind live of one he will have her doing all kinds

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