A brave mother shared the heartbreaking story of how she lost her son to drugs with students in Keady this week.
Dungiven mum Teresa Burke lost her son Kealan from a Methadone overdose in 2012.
The 22-year-old spent the last year of his life spent receiving round-the-clock care in a nursing home before he died a week after turning 22 in February 2009.
Mrs Burke has been going around schools sharing her story.
“Teresa Burke’s story is harrowing, gut wrenching and powerful beyond measure,” said MLA Justin McNulty, was speaking as he joined students at St Patrick’s High School for the presentation this week facilitated by the local Policing and Community Safety Partnership.
“She lost her dear son Kealan at the age of twenty-two. Teresa described Kealan as a drug addict and he died eighteen months after overdosing on methadone.
“Her story is powerful beyond measure because of what she has taken out of it and how she has turned one of the most heart-breaking situations to ever face any parent, into one of bravery and a mission to help others avoid the same trap.
“You could hear a pin drop in the classroom as she recounted Kealan’s story about how painfully and helplessly he died over a long and gruelling eighteen months.
“She pleaded with young people to think before they take drugs.
“The story is the same for illegal drugs as it is for prescription drugs; the end of the story is often sadly the same. She shared photos and videos of Kealan as he battled to stay alive.”
Mr McNulty added: “I cannot express in words the impact her story had on me, and I witnessed how it impacted every pupil in the room.
“It’s a story every young man and woman should hear. Parents too should see and hear Teresa’s presentation.
“It lays down a challenge to us all, one that encourages young people to live life to the full but to make the right choices.
“I want to place on record my sincere thanks to the team at St Patrick’s High School, the local Policing and Community Safety Partnership and the PSNI for bringing this presentation together.
“But, most of all I want to thank Teresa for her story and her brave work. I know her work throughout the north will save many lives as I can only describe Teresa’s story as powerful beyond measure.”