A Light for Kevin on a Long and Dark Road


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Kevin struggled with addiction for years, during those years fighting his demons, mourning the passing of friends and spending time in prison one constant remained: Merchants Quay.

Kevin could easily blame his years of heroin abuse on a childhood that most of us would have trouble imagining. Instead he sums up his addiction by saying, 鈥淚t was my own doing. I brought it on myself.鈥

By his own admission Kevin didn鈥檛 start into 鈥渉eavy drugs鈥 until he was in his 20’s. 鈥淓verybody told me the ups of heroin, but they never tell you what it鈥檚 like when you can鈥檛 have it. The sickness, the vomiting. I was caught 鈥 I got rolled up in it. All I knew was to feed my habit.鈥

He calls the decade and a half of heroin abuse his 鈥渄ark road.鈥 During that time, Kevin was shot and stabbed and sent to prison. He grieved for lost friends, remembering one 鈥渢hey found in a flat complex on the stairs with nowhere to go, he just fell asleep there and died.鈥

Kevin even tried to end his own life. 鈥淚 couldn鈥檛 see a way out, do you know what I mean? I didn鈥檛 want the life I had.鈥 But as he struggled through 13 long years, one constant remained: Merchants Quay.

Patient presence

鈥淚 knew MQI was here,鈥 he recalls, 鈥渂ut at first I wouldn鈥檛 come in. Now I鈥檓 sorry I waited so long.鈥

Kevin would come to avail of virtually every service you make possible 鈥 including needle exchange, meals, counselling and training 鈥 services all available at the Riverbank Open Access Centre.

鈥淭o come here at half seven in the morning, the lads sleeping out on the streets can鈥檛 wait for that time. I know because I used to be on the streets myself, with a sleeping bag wrapped around me.鈥

Today Kevin is in a solid relationship and has a close bond with his girlfriend鈥檚 son. 鈥淚 love him like he was my own lad. I never had that before. He鈥檚 in college, with nine A’s in his exams. The thought of letting him down, I wouldn鈥檛 turn to drugs again.鈥 In fact, Kevin鈥檚 goal is to take the last step of his journey and come off his methadone replacement treatment.

Where will his drug-free life begin?

At MQI, thanks to you.