A Dublin woman who shot into the public eye after describing her battle recovering from drug addiction has revealed that 10 of her friends have passed away from drug-related deaths since Christmas.
Rachael Keogh has released an updated 10-year anniversary edition of her book Dying to Survive where she details growing up in Ballymun and how she was crippled by addiction.
Speaking on the Ryan Tubridy Show on RTÉ Radio, Rachael Keogh described getting into drugs at a very young age:
"I started hanging around with a couple of friends from the blocks and we were very innocent. They were smoking hash and I just thought 'well, what about it?' - it was just a bit of craic," she said.
By the time she turned 13, she had started taking heroin.
"It was a very quick downward spiral," she explained. "You never know what way you are going to react to drugs because of the narcotic effect, obviously I have a huge sensitivity for whatever reason.
"I started taking ecstasy," Rachael said, describing that she and her friends started taking heroin "to come down from the ecstasy".
She spoke about hitting "rock-bottom" when she was 15. She was then arrested and sent to Mountjoy as a teenager, where she spent a decade.
"I was committing petty crimes to feed my habit," she said adding that she believed jail was no place for someone her age. "I was put in with women up to 70 years of age."
"The trauma of prison has never fully gone away," she writes in her book.
Rachael also spoke about those who still struggle with addiction.
"Ten of my friends have passed away (since Christmas)," she revealed, "all drug-related deaths".
"It's a class genocide."
In the updated edition of the book, Rachael writes about relapsing after 10 years clean and adding that she is now spending her time advocating on decriminalising drugs as she continues her recovery.
You can listen to the full interview below or here