Grieving dad sets up charity to honour son's legacy

A grieving father who's 23-year-old son died from an accidental overdose of a counterfeit anti-anxiety drug has set up a charity to help people with mental health and addiction problems.

Gary Amos and his daughter Rosie at grave of Adam Amos his dead son
Gary Amos and his daughter Rosie at grave of Adam Amos his dead son

Gary Amos has launched the Adam Amos Foundation in honour of his first child who died in January 2019 after taking deadly fake Xanax available from street dealers.

Amos had previously suffered from depression but was unable to get the help he needed from medical professionals who deemed his condition not serious enough.

From there his life spiralled out of control with drugs, alcohol and depression taking hold.

His father, who is suffering from PTSD after discovering his dead son, is now aiming to help others in Edinburgh through an army of volunteers, many of whom are attempting to recover from their own addictions.

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The 54-year-old, who has a teenage daughter Rosie, is aiming to set up community projects and the foundation has already cleared garden space for elderly people to sit outside after lockdown.

He said: “I wanted to help people as my son Adam did suffer from bad depression and I’m looking to help anybody in the community who is struggling particularly young men.

“I want to open a soup kitchen and help people who are suffering with addiction problems and could be living on the streets.

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“We already have 30 volunteers who are there to help people eventually move towards coming off drug and alcohol dependency.

“A lot of young people, especially young men are scared to admit they have a problem and feel depressed.

“We are relying on the Facebook page and word of mouth - there’s a lot of people saying they’re willing to help.

“More needs to be done to help people - we originally thought Adam had committed suicide but it was an illegal street drug that killed my son.”

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There is a rising death toll across the UK linked to fake versions of the anti-anxiety drug Xanax, the brand name for the drug alprazolam, with young people most at risk.

Xanax is a powerful tranquilizer used to treat anxiety and panic attacks and is not available on the NHS. But it can be obtained on private prescription in the UK, is widely prescribed in the US, and counterfeit versions circulate on the black market.

Amos said that a lot of people have a problem opening up about depression because of how they’ll be perceived- something the foundation is aiming to change.

He said: “We want to provide people with a safe haven where they can come and speak with their peers freely and share their experiences about mental health issues and feel relaxed.

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“They will also have the opportunity to do volunteer work and get involved in making a positive contribution - perhaps helping other people who are suffering from similar issues.

.“My son never got the help that he needed in terms of his mental health.

“We eventually managed to get him counselling but he died before starting it.

“Adam was a character, full of fun but he had terrible mood swings - one day he would be OK but the next day he couldn’t talk to me.

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“His wee sister Rosie was his world.”

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