Lockdown ‘fear and boredom’ sparks increase in substance misuse

PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 August 2020 | UPDATED: 10:39 25 August 2020

There has been an increase in substance misuse during lockdown. PIC: Supplied by The Matthew Project.

There has been an increase in substance misuse during lockdown. PIC: Supplied by The Matthew Project.


A 14-year-old boy who lost his mum is taking part in a memorial walk to raise funds for a Norwich charity.

The teenager is involved in aid of The Matthew Project, a drug and alcohol recovery charity.

The county has seen an increase in alcohol-related referrals during lockdown, reflecting the national trend.

Sarah King, fundraising and events officer at The Matthew Project, said: “The feelings of isolation, fear, boredom and uncertainty that lockdown has presented, coupled with inability to access usual support networks, have made it a very difficult time for vulnerable people struggling with addiction.”

The charity is working with 153 young people across Norfolk who have parents or carers who are struggling with addiction.

On average, the charity, which has operated for 36 years, supports more than 1,600 people affected by alcohol or drug abuse every year.

Miss King said: “The downturn of people struggling with addiction has in turn led to an increase in the numbers of children we are supporting who are impacted by the substance misuse of others.”

They include a 14-year-old boy who lost his mum in June due to substance-related issues.

He will do a memorial walk at Wicken Fen National Trust to raise money for The Matthew Project on Tuesday.

Ms King said: “When the message came in about this young person’s venture, I knew we had to get involved. Fourteen years old, grieving the loss of his mum due to substance-related issues, yet wanting to raise funds for charity in her memory – that takes bravery and strength which needs to be acknowledged.

“I may never meet this person face to face but as a mum of three teenage boys myself, I have nothing but admiration for what he’s doing.

“We at The Matthew Project are very grateful for this opportunity to share his story and wish him every success for the future.”

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