A MUM who suffered from a crippling heroin addiction fears tougher lockdown restrictions could lead to more drug deaths.

Julie McAddock, who grew up in Erskine, struggled with substance abuse during her late teens and early 20s after experimenting with alcohol at just 13.

However, the mum-of-four has been free of drugs for 11 years and, in 2013, created the Street Connect charity with her husband Ricky.

The couple, who first met in rehab, founded the outreach organisation to provide help to people currently struggling with addiction issues.

Julie, 37, is now concerned that another long-term lockdown this year could have a major impact on isolated people who misuse drugs.

“A lot of people with addiction issues aren’t as linked into the rest of society as everybody else,” she told The Gazette.

“When you are caught up in that lifestyle, it can be pretty chaotic, with people losing their money and phones, so for many it’s not easy to just contact their drug worker.

“If this lockdown goes on indefinitely, I think there will be a lot more drug deaths involving people who aren’t able to find help.”

However, Julie also believes the Covid-19 lockdown has helped to push many people with addiction issues towards seeking help for their problems over the past year.

The former Park Mains High pupil said: “We have seen quite a few men consistently coming to our support groups recently, which appears to have helped them move forward with their lives, despite the lockdown.

“Many of the people coming to us are desperate for help and we are in the position to get them into rehab or just to provide that one-to-one support where they can speak with somebody.

“We are seeing a lot of good in this, as well as bad.”

Thanks to emergency relief funding, Street Connect has been able to take on additional staff during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has allowed the charity to expand its outreach work.

Since November, the organisation has resumed work in Paisley and formed a partnership with Life Church, in Moss Street, and Churches Together Renfrewshire.

Julie added: “If you’re feeling scared or worried right now, there is help out there, so don’t be afraid to get in touch.”

For more information, visit www.streetconnect.co.uk.