“Mum. Can you lend me twenty quid? What drugs did to my family.”
Elizabeth Burton-Phillips, DrugFAM, United Kingdom
“For the European Action on Drugs, I committed to continue what I am already doing 150%: raising awareness about the damaging and dangerous impact of drugs”, said Elizabeth Burton-Phillips, founder of DrugFAM, a registered charity set up in memory of her late son and dedicated to supporting family members of drug addicts. “The EAD gave me more visibility. Thanks to the EAD events in London and Brussels, this has allowed me to make numerous contacts nationally and internationally. The EAD was very useful for networking”, she said, saying that she found a contact in Cyprus this way, which enabled her to tell her story in local schools in Nicosia, Paphos and Limassol in 2010.
Loss and Hope set into music
“In your name, I’ll turn my life around, I’ll be what you couldn’t be, I’ll do what you couldn’t do’’ is one of the catchy lines of one of ten songs in the play and the musical “Mum. Can you lend me twenty quid? What drugs did to my family”. The play is based on the book of the same name, written by EAD signatory Elizabeth Burton-Phillips on the tragic loss of one of her twin sons. Nick died in February 2004 at only 27 years of age, while Simon changed his life and is now happily married and the father of a son and daughter – a true story of loss and hope.
“The play all started with an email I received in February 2011 from Mike Howl, who suggested transforming my book into a powerful play”, said Elizabeth Burton-Phillips. He wrote a very successful drama which has been piloted in schools, a prison and for the theatre-going public. Howl’s inspiration for writing the play stems from his own personal experience as a volunteer family project worker, supporting families whose loved ones have a drug problem. “We had one play in a prison in HMP Peterborough; it was absolutely electric. There was hardly any spatial separation between the actors and the prisoners, and all the actors got standing ovations after the play”.
Elizabeth said the first public viewings in the United Kingdom were in April and May 2012. The play “Mum. Can you lend me twenty quid? What drugs did to my family” is likely to go on a national tour of prisons and schools next year.