Saturday 20 January 2018

Homeless teen heroin addict opts for custody over Christmas

Tom Tuite

A HOMELESS teenage heroin addict has opted to go into custody this Christmas to beat his drug addiction.

The 16-year-old has been using heroin since he was aged 13 when he fled home to escape an abusive step-father.

In November the boy made a similar request to be held in custody in St Patrick's Institution so he could try and battle his addiction. Two weeks later the Dublin Children's Court heard he had managed to beat his addiction and was released on bail to reside in hostels for homeless people.

However, when back at the court yesterday, he again asked to be placed in custody. He said that since being released he has started to use heroin again.

Judge Angela Ni Chonduin asked him if he was sure he was making the right decision. The boy replied he wanted to go back to St Patrick's Institution to overcome his drug problem.

He was remanded in custody for two weeks.

The boy has been on the streets for the past three years. During that time he became a chronic heroin addict which led to his arrest for petty theft offences. He has been before the Children's Court in Smithfield, Dublin, numerous times in relation to these crimes which stemmed from his addiction problem.

Defence solicitor Sarah Molloy said there was no application for bail and that the teenager, who remained silent during the case, wanted to be detained.

"He wants to go into custody, he's homeless and has been living on the streets," she said.

"He has a serious heroin addiction and wants to go into custody to do something about it."

Earlier the court had heard that efforts were being made to have the boy placed on a drug treatment course.

The boy has been homeless since he was aged 13. At that age he first fled home to escape from his mother's violent partner.

The step-father had been violent to his mother and when the boy tried to protect her he too was attacked by him.

He then left home and had been sleeping rough until at the age of 14, his case was brought to the High Court, which ordered that he should be placed in a detention centre.

The High Court detention order was imposed for the boy's welfare because there had been no place in care units for him. It was not connected with crime.

After his release from the detention centre efforts were made to place him on a drug treatment programme.

It was hoped that if he was successful in quitting drugs he could then be placed in a care home.

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