NZ Herald 11 July 2017
Family First Comment: A disturbing and sad story, but here’s the key bit
“His family says Dan had a privileged upbringing; he was raised with a private education and grew up to travel overseas and gain full-time employment.
It was when Dan began dabbling in marijuana with his “peers”, that his life seemed to go downhill.
“It’s become almost as big a problem as alcohol abuse now,” Leanne said.
The Australian mother who chronicled the downward spiral of her 25-year-old drug-addicted son has received overwhelming praise for exposing the harsh reality of “human misery”.
Brisbane mum Leanne Thompson’s picture standing above her son Dan while he sleeps on the streets has recaptured the nation’s conversation surrounding drug addiction – causing a “lump in the throat” of everyday Aussies.
It comes as some homeless in Melbourne criticise the 25-year-old for refusing help.
“I’ve been trying to get accomodation and I can’t. This person got everything he wants, doesn’t want it,” one man, Darren, told Nine News.
“I thought, ‘what a lucky kid, he’s got parents who care”.
Leanne, along with her husband, frequently fly from Brisbane to Melbourne to ensure Daniel’s safety and mental wellbeing. She says after moving interstate, Daniel’s descent into destitution came fast – in just under a year he went from living a “normal” life to sleeping on the footpath of Melbourne’s CBD to chasing cash and drugs, mainly synthetic marijuana.
He has been living on the streets for four months, has psychotic episodes and has turned to a life of crime.
She’s been visiting every week to “keep an eye on him and make sure he’s OK”. She’s become such a frequent visitor to the streets she knows many of the homeless by name.
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