Lasting tribute to drug death man

A GRIEVING father has today spoken of the devastating affect of drug abuse after an Ipswich rehabilitation centre opened a room in memory of his son.Lloyd Ward died last May after a drug overdose.

A GRIEVING father has today spoken of the devastating affect of drug abuse after an Ipswich rehabilitation centre opened a room in memory of his son.

Lloyd Ward died last May after a drug overdose. He was 29-years-old and about to undergo counselling through the Iceni Project.

Today, the project has expanded with a new building in Fore Street and ten extra rooms including the Lloyd Ward room.

Lloyd's parents, Eddie and Sue Ward attended the official opening which Mr Ward admits was an emotional event.

The Kesgrave couple became involved with the Iceni centre before their son's death, using it as a base for support.

Mr Ward said: "We were in a bad way and needed counselling, we went down there towards the end when my son had been in prison. It was mainly debt that was the problem.

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"He came out of prison and four days later he overdosed.

"He was going to go down there for counselling but it was too late.

"Apparently people are often at their most vulnerable after rehab and detox – my son was clean."

The Iceni Project offers support and treatment for those whose lives have been affected by addiction.

Using a holistic approach, the project promotes a healthy lifestyle and considers the client's social and economic needs.

The Lloyd Ward room will be used for group therapy sessions, something which Mr Ward believes his son would have approved of.

He added: "The ironic thing is my son was a member of Ipswich swimming club and the Harriers. It seems amazing that someone with all that discipline could be dragged into this.

"He went through the navy and passed out but decided against it. He even looked after my dad for three years after he had a stroke.

"It is important to concentrate on the good. I think he definitely would have approved of this."

For Mr and Mrs Ward the Iceni project has offered support in the difficult year following their son's death. They have made many friends at the centre and now both work there, Mrs Ward as a volunteer and Mr Ward as a maintenance worker.

The project offers a range of counselling services and in its new premises, a variety of ten group activities. Previously there was just two.

Project manager Brian Tobin said: "We want to mirror residential rehab which is much more costly.

"The new centre will make life so much easier. There is an increase in the amount of treatments and people now come in almost every day. At the moment we have 69 people on treatment."

For these people there is renewed hope with a strong support base in a non-judgemental environment.

And although Mr Ward is in full support of the centre he is quick to highlight the devastation caused by drug use.

He added: "My son was on a care ward on a ventilator for three days. I watched my son born and I had to see the machine switched off because he was so badly brain damaged. People need to know what the family go through.

"My son died in a toilet. We need to so something about the dealers who are still on the streets and flourish uninterrupted."

For more information about the Iceni project call in at the centre at 84, Fore Street or call 01473 214006.

N Has someone in your family been affected by drug addiction? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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