‘I was being punished for something I had no control over’: Rachael Keogh 13 years after her addiction made national news

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RACHAEL KEOGH WAS 11 when she first started smoking and drinking to fit in with the other kids in her area.

Growing up in Ballymun in the 90s, illegal drugs surrounded young Rachael, and before long she was smoking marijuana, taking pills and not going to school.

Heroin quickly followed – with Rachael smoking it first and then injecting at the age of 15. She became chronically addicted to the drug and her life after this continued to spiral: constant drug use, jailed on shoplifting charges.

This period of Rachael’s life is well-known by anyone who was reading the papers or watching the news in the mid-2000s.

At her wits’ end in July 2006, Rachael’s mother – who had done everything she could to help her daughter – contacted the media lamenting how her daughter couldn’t get the help she needed to combat her addiction.

It was at this time that images emerged of Rachael’s arms – ravaged by years of injecting. Doctors informed her that her arms would have to be amputated if she didn’t stop using heroin.

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