"I love you, Mum - I promise I won't die," said 16 year-old Daniel Spargo-Mabbs, as he left the house for the last time. This compelling blend of memoir and insight into the risks, consequences and lasting legacy of drug use offers positive, practical support for any parent keen to protect their own children from harm.
When Dan died, I realised many things.
I realised drugs were closer to our door than I'd thought.
I realised drugs have become normalised for young people.
I realised drugs are more affordable, accessible and available than ever before.
And I realised I didn't know enough, and nor did Dan, to navigate the choices and come back alive.
When Daniel Spargo-Mabbs was 16, he went to a party and never came home. The party was an illegal rave and Daniel - bright, popular, big-hearted prom king Dan - died from a fatally strong overdose of MDMA.
In the seven years since, the range of substances has become wider, the levels of exposure higher, and the threat to young people's physical and mental health from drugs greater than ever before. Despite this, there is almost no guidance for parents to help their children navigate this perilous landscape and to stay safe.
To come home at night.
To grow up.
This book is everything Fiona Spargo-Mabbs wishes she'd known, everything she wishes she'd done, before she lost her son. Because however you parent, and whatever you do, at some point your child is likely to be in a situation where they have to make a decision about drugs. What if that decision is 'yes'? Do they know what the risks are? Do they have strategies they can bring to bear if things go wrong?
I Wish I'd Known interweaves the story of one family's terrible loss with calm, measured and practical advice for parents. It explores the risks posed by illegal drugs, and explains the way the adolescent brain makes decisions. There is practical advice for saying safe, information on reducing harm, and 'talking points' for parents and their children to do, talk about, look at, look up or consider.
A life lost to drugs is a loss like no other. Throughout the book, Daniel's story - his life, his death and what happened afterwards - not only provides a compelling reminder of the importance of those conversations, but also serves as an unforgettable eulogy to a son, brother, boyfriend and friend whose legacy continues to touch, and perhaps even save, the lives of other young people.
Fiona's story is heart-breaking, but her honesty and generosity in telling it will undoubtedly prevent other parents from finding themselves in a similar situation. This book is an absolute must for any parent wanting to have a meaningful conversation with their children about drugs. - Alicia Drummond, MBACP Accred., Founder, Teen Tips