Ipswich: Iceni saved me from silent drug addiction

FOR eight years Sarah Coleby battled a hidden addiction.

To the world the 33-year-old appeared like any other loving mum, caring for her son. But Sarah, of Coopers Road, Martlesham, hid a dark reality - she was addicted to painkillers.

At the height of her reliance Sarah said she would take 90 codeine tablets a day. Living in Leeds at the time she said she would travel miles to chemists who would not recognise her.

But today Sarah has broken free, facing her last chance to rid her life of her addiction, she turned to Iceni for help. It is the team at Foundation Street, that Sarah credits with helping save her life.

Shortly after the birth of her son Euan, eight years ago, Sarah was first prescribed codeine for her bad back.

“It starts quite small but you build up a tolerance and you find yourself needing to take more and more,” she said. “It just completely controls you. Codeine is a lesser form of heroin and people don’t realise that when they are putting in their body.

“It is so easy to become addicted because, unlike other drugs, you can maintain everyday life. I was still getting up, doing my chores, taking my son to school, working. And it is available over the counter.”

Most Read

After two-and-a-half years of her life being gripped by codeine, Sarah took action to kick her habit.

“I had cut right down,” the jewellery designer added. “But then my mum was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour and I moved back to Suffolk to care for her.”

When her mum passed away in 2006, Sarah said her life went into freefall.

“It was a very tense and stressful time and I did decide to tell my family.

“But I went on a massive self-destruct mode. I moved out of the family home for a year or so and I took credit cards out in my land lady’s name. I ended up being convicted of fraud.” In September last year she first walked through Iceni’s doors and she has not looked back.

“I have been codeine free since December 2,” she added. “I did not know what to expect. But they are the most supportive people, they are understanding and most importantly, they don’t judge. I celebrated my son’s eighth birthday last October with a big party, it was something I hadn’t done before because I had been spending money on codeine. This year was different, thanks to Iceni. Without them I would not be where I am now. I will be forever in their debt.

“It is so vital this life-saving charity is saved. I could not have done this without Iceni and my family.”

n Iceni – MP’s quiet confidence – page 18