THE SON and mother of a woman jailed for Class A drug offences have spoken out about the effect substance abuse has on families.

Isobel Jones, 41, of Bisley Old Road, Stroud, was one of three people sentenced on Friday.

After the hearing, her family spoke to the SNJ.

The case at Gloucester Crown Court came after an investigation into so called county lines drug supply in Stroud.

Isobel Jones was sentenced to two years in prison for the supply of heroin and crack cocaine.

The court was told that Isobel had struggled with a Class A drug addiction.

Chilah Matthew, 26, of Wessex Lane, London, was sentenced to five years and six months in prison for the supply of Class A drugs.

And Laura Simons, 26, of Mathews Way, Stroud, was given a suspended sentenced of 111 days in prison for possession of crack cocaine and the possession of a bladed article.

After the hearing, Isobel’s son Louis Richardson-Jones, 19, and her mother, Shelagh Hume, got in touch to highlight the complexity of addiction problems and to explain the impact it has on families.

Louis - who is training to be a paramedic at the University of Lincoln - wants more people to realise that individuals like his mum are often victims of difficult situations and that family members are also deeply affected.

“I read a comment online about my mum saying now there’s less scum on the streets,” said Louis.

“I just want people to realise that person they are talking about is a victim.

“And outside the fact that three people were convicted of drug offences, there are family members behind those people, who are deeply affected by the situation.”

Louis is keen to offer words of advice to other youngsters whose parents have addiction problems.

“People should be aware of the impact it has on younger people,” he said.

“It is difficult, but it’s something that I’ve grown used to.

“To younger people - I know it’s a cliché to say - but I would suggest speaking to people as much as you can.

“Just having someone that can listen helps so much.”

Louis grew up in Stroud where he lived mainly with his grandmother from the age of five, and then with his godfather from the age of 15.

He would spend some weekends with his mum until her addiction became too severe.

“Up to when I was about 12, I did stay with her for weekends,” he said.

“Then things went downhill. What flipped it for her was getting involved with some dodgy people.

“I wasn’t clued up on what was going on but it became obvious around 2014/15.

“That’s when I kind of found out for definite that my mother had a substance abuse problem.

“It did impact on me negatively. I got depressed and thought why can’t I have that normal family.

“My mental health declined and there were a lot of problems.”

A keen sportsman, Louis found solace in rugby and in his part-time job at Batemans sports shop in Stroud.

“I started focusing on myself and not my family,” he said.

“I had rugby to take mind off it - playing, coaching and refereeing.

“And I tried to find other things to occupy myself with and not have drugs in the background.

“Another way I have got over the struggles was from working in Batemans.

“The support from Andy Bateman and the whole staff there was one of the best things I could have asked for.”

Louis also went to live with his godfather at that point, which made a big difference.

A pupil at Archway School, Louis found support there as well.

His tutor put him in touch with people who could provide guidance and advice on how to deal with his situation and he had some youth counselling sessions.

“Turning it round in myself was important too,” he said.

“Having a lot of positive things going on really helped - getting into university, meeting new friends, having a different focus.

“And breaking that bond of negative thoughts.”

Louis’ experiences to date have given him a strong interest in mental health issues and he said this is partly what drew him to a career as a paramedic.

“Being clued up on the mental health side of situations, that’s what interests me. And being that resource where people can get help,” he said.

“It’s a bit of a cliché thing, that I want to help people, but I do.”

Isobel’s mother Shelagh said her daughter was a victim of manipulative drug suppliers.

“My daughter has been a victim of men who have groomed her to be dependent on drugs since she was 20,” she said.

“Her problems are to do with poor mental health and the drugs were an easy fix at first, but then became a part of her life.

“Girls like her are not bad, but caught up in the ways of coercive and manipulative men.

“They are driven to do bad things to get by. They are just the tiny fish at the bottom of the food chain headed by organised crime. Isobel was used for her network.

“Look at her face in the police photo - she was in a very bad way.

"It doesn’t worry the dealers, they’ll just recruit some other needy person to take over.

“Imagine the worry and pain this causes her and those who care for her.

“To others she’s just another addict and a public nuisance, but every addict has a story.

“She’s better off now that she’s in a place of safety and I pray that this has put her on a path to recovery.

“There was no help for her in society as successive funding cuts have diminished the support she’s been asking for, for drug and alcohol users.

“This is not about blame but about the failure of society to guard its young people better.”