A Dundee teen has admitted her mum could have avoided dying from a drugs overdose at just 36 if she had sought help from local services.
Alana Gowans, 17, lost her mum Alexis Watson to drugs in September last year, with the pain of the loss still fresh for the college student.
But now Alana, who studies early childcare education at Dundee & Angus College, hopes to make a difference after winning a sum of cash to donate to a local charity.
The city centre resident had a difficult upbringing as her mum lived a chaotic lifestyle, meaning she had to move in with her gran aged just three.
Alana said: “It was different, but gave me protection from seeing the substance use.
“I was quite upset and angry and took it out on my gran sometimes.
“My mum had been addicted to heroin since she was 16 and came off it for so long, but then she started to take Valium and sleeping tablets.
“She wanted to get better for me, but it was hard.”
Alana recognised there were many other young people across the city going through a similar experience.
She said: “I’d say to anyone who is going through a difficult situation to go to the charity Addaction.
“Every day is different. Some days I blame myself, but she’s in a better place.”
Alana, along with fellow students from Gardyne Campus, won a grant for £3,000 after completing a presentation on their chosen charity – Addaction – in front of a panel from the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative.
The team presented a cheque for the cash during a ceremony at the Addaction centre in Whitfield, while a tree will also be planted in memory of Alexis.
Alana, who is hoping to become a nursery teacher after her studies, said: “We had to go to the charity and find out all the information and do a presentation in front of judges.
“We didn’t know much about Addaction but last year I realised the support they give.
“I think Addaction could have saved my mum.”
Dave Barrie, service manager for Addaction, said: “It’s sad but it’s the reality.
“It was heartbreaking to hear about. Having that loss is enormous for anyone.
“The money will be going towards really good recovery programmes and we’re planting a tree in memory of her mum.”