Emma Monks
Emma Monks
When Emma was just seven-years-old her addict mum forced her to smoke heroin – and within days she was hooked on the lethal drug…
By Emma Monks, 32, from Sheffield

I had an idyllic childhood until my mum met a new man, and seemed to change overnight.

She withdrew from family life, holing herself up in her bedroom.

I was seven when I walked into the kitchen and found her burning a spoon and rolling up tin foil.

I had no idea what she was doing, but I was intrigued.

She picked me up, sat me on the kitchen worktop and put the pipe in my mouth and told me to suck.

Emma with Julie
Emma with her mum Julie

I think I must have dozed off then but when I came round, Mum offered me more.

The next day, she came up to my bedroom and gave me more. And the next day… and the next.

Within a week, I was feeling really ill. I had no idea at the time but I was beginning to experience withdrawal symptoms.

I was hooked on heroin at just seven years old.

While my friends were enjoying playing with their Barbie dolls, I spent my days aching for my next fix.

I was so desperate, I’d even take the gear into my primary school so I could get my hit during our lunch break.

And if Mum ever refused me heroin, I’d hunt down her stash and threaten to tell my dad about my addiction unless she complied. I’d become a monster.

It got to the stage where I was ditching my breakfast cereal in the morning, in favour of heroin.

And if I ever had to stay at my gran’s house I spent the whole night shivering, unable to sleep.Without heroin, I was a lost soul.

I was 11 when Mum was arrested for dealing drugs. She was sentenced to six years in jail and I was moved into a children’s home.

It was the worst week of my life as I went cold turkey. For the first time in years, my body was free of the drug.

When I told a keyworker about my shocking addiction they ran tests and Mum was stripped of all her parental rights from behind bars.

I went into rehab to free myself from heroin’s deadly grip, but it didn’t last long.

Emma sold her story to Take a Break magazine
Emma sold her story to Take a Break magazine

When Mum was released four years later, when I was 16, I tracked her down and we were soon hooked again.

I went off the rails and even ended up in prison myself for burglary. But in 2006, I got clean and met Carl, 35.

He gave me a reason to live and we went on to have three beautiful children together.

Our oldest daughter is now six. I was just a year older than her when Mum introduced me to heroin.

When I look at my little girl, so innocent, I can’t believe what Mum made me do. But despite her shocking betrayal, Mum and I have tentatively begun to rebuild our relationship. She’s now clean too.

She was at the hospital when I gave birth to my daughter and I’ve slowly let her back into our lives since then.

But I don’t know if I’ll ever truly forgive her for getting me hooked on heroin, aged seven.

Emma’s mum, Julie, 57, says: “I don’t know what was going through my mind when I gave Emma heroin. Emma, as a child, was very manipulative. I was going through a breakdown. I said to Emma it has to stop. I do feel guilty, but Emma got help and she still went back to it. I know what I did was wrong. I have to live with it for the rest of my life. But Emma has had plenty of opportunities to turn her life around. How can I be blamed for her lifestyle?”

As told to Helen O’Brien Google

By talking about her personal experiences, Emma wanted to show another side to drug addiction. We helped her to sell her story to the Mirror newspaper and Take a Break magazine. If you’re considering speaking out in the press, have a look at our guide to how much a story is worth, then get in touch with us using the form on the right for a confidential chat.