A WOMAN whose son tragically took his own life after battling addiction is on a mission to ensure no other mother has to experience the same heart-wrenching loss. 

Julie Romani, 57, has spoken to the Telegraph & Argus about her plight as she aims to raise awareness of the charity she created following her son Jordan’s death.

This September will mark five years since he died at the age of 27, and the passage of time has seen Julie, who lives in Birkenshaw, channel her grief into Help for Addicts. 

She has vowed to share her own experience to create a positive legacy from her darkest days. 

“Jordan went to a good school and we thought everything was fine,” said Julie.

“Unbeknown to us, he was smoking cannabis from 13/14. We were oblivious to it.”

She eventually found out what had been happening when Jordan was around 15 years old.

This was around the same time his dad, Joe, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. 

Julie said: “At the time, Jordan’s dad and I didn’t truly understand addiction, much like many other families, and it made it impossible for us to accept and, in turn, for me to help Jordan accept his substance abuse/addictive behaviours and get the help that he needed.”

His dad’s death brought further pain and trauma and by that point, Jordan had been smoking cannabis for around eight years, leading to outbursts, aggression and turbulent times for the family.

“Because I didn’t understand addiction, I didn’t really know the right things to do,” said Julie.

“I got in touch with rehab centres, I got him booked in a couple of times and then at the last minute he’d say ‘no I’m not going mum, no I don’t need that’.

“I did everything I possibly could. I think he was suffering, because of the marijuana I think he was suffering really bad depression, but I think he was suffering from depression from word go, from losing his dad and all of the trauma with that.

“I truly didn’t understand that addiction is really a disease and people need professional help with it. As much as you can try and offer support, offer help, they do need to get professional help and understand that it’s not their fault, they’re not bad people and they can get better.”

Jordan’s cannabis use spiralled into the misuse of injectable steroids, as well as an addiction to energy drinks and video games, all of which Julie said had a severe impact on his wellbeing. 

After his death, she learnt he’d made several attempts to take his own life before.

Speaking about the devastating impact, she said: “I just didn’t want to carry on myself, I found it so difficult, I couldn’t physically function for three weeks.”

While Julie thought she’d done everything she could, she desperately wanted to understand what addiction was.

That was the driving force behind the creation of the Help for Addicts website - to provide a platform to help others and arm them with vital knowledge.

She said: “Every day there’s something in the news about substance abuse, addictive behaviour, very often alongside criminality by drug gangs and exploitation of children, young people and the vulnerable because of drugs.”

Julie also wants to smash the stigma often associated with addiction and spoke of how she remembers Jordan: “He was a lovely, gentle soul. He would do anything for anybody.

“He had the kindest heart, he would always help anyone.”

She added: “Somebody who is addicted isn’t a bad person, which often they get labelled that way. You think they can control it but when you understand that they can’t control it and they need to get professional help.

“I thought, if I help one person, or a parent or a friend or family, to understand that addiction, that it’s not their fault and they don’t choose to be addicted, they don’t choose to have that as their way of life.

“It happens and it can happen to any one of us. I also knew that Jordan didn’t understand addiction either because he said ‘I’m not addicted, I can stop any time I want, I could stop tomorrow if I want’.”

Julie now hopes schools will be able to make use of the resources the charity has created and has urged them to get in touch. 

They can be accessed at www.helpforaddicts.co.uk/resources

  • If you need someone to talk to call Samaritans free any time, from any phone, on 116 123.