Page last updated at 01:20 GMT, Sunday, 5 October 2008 02:20 UK

'People doing drugs is really bad'

Ellie Stevens, 11
Ellie is part of Addaction's campaign against drugs
Eleven-year-old Ellie Stevens thinks drugs are disgusting and cannot understand why anyone would want to take them.

She suffered a campaign of abuse and intimidation after her mother, Marie, took a stand and decided to keep her daughter away from those who might draw her into substance abuse.

Ellie - not her real name - and Marie are taking part in charity Addaction's latest campaign aimed at highlighting the problem of drug abuse among young people.

It is a message that Ellie already knows only too well.

"Drugs are horrible," she told the BBC News website.

"I think it's really bad people doing drugs. They can send you to hospital. I'd never do it.

"I tell all my friends not to do it either."

Smoking joints

Ellie was living with her mum and two sisters in Croxteth, Liverpool, when Marie became very concerned about the sort of young people she was spending time with.

Marie said: "When we first moved I didn't realise quite how bad it was, but it was terrible.

"Ellie started coming home saying other girls her age were smoking joints and drinking.

"So I said 'No way. You're not hanging round with them.' I stopped her going out.

"I've always told my girls 'Don't do drugs, they're bad for you. They'll get you nowhere in life.' And they know that.

"It wasn't that I didn't trust them, it was the others and I didn't want my girls to get bullied into trying drugs."

But when Marie took her stand, the local youths turned on the family.

They kept slapping me, saying bad things to me. It was a good thing my mum kept me in
Ellie Stevens

They began calling Ellie and her sisters names and physically assaulting them.

In time, things turned even nastier. Bricks were thrown through their windows and they suffered an attempted break-in.

One of Ellie's sisters even took an overdose because of the constant bullying.

"It annoys me when people start talking about kids having the choice not to fall into a gang, because there isn't much choice is there?" said Marie.

"What's the choice? Join in or we'll make your life a total misery?"

The treatment of Ellie and her sisters took its toll.

"People were really nasty," Ellie said. "They kept slapping me, saying bad things to me. It was a good thing my mum kept me in.

"It was horrible."

Project work

The family called the police several times and eventually, after nearly a year of pleading, they were moved away from the estate for their own safety.

Ellie now works with an Addaction project close to her new home in Cheshire.

It is helping her get over the bullying she suffered and best of all it has allowed her to play her beloved football again - something she had to give up in Croxteth.

Marie is clear about the importance of taking part in anti-drugs campaigns like this one.

"We want people to know just what youngsters doing drugs and drink does to the innocent people who are just trying to live their lives and bring their kids up," she said.

Parents to get youth drink guide
02 Jun 08 |  UK Politics


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