A mum has shared a harrowing photo of her son in intensive care to warn young people about the dangers of buying prescription drugs from street dealers.
Callum Maddison Shaw was left fighting for his life after taking Xanax, a drug used to treat depression and anxiety.
The 22-year-old was rushed to hospital, where doctors were forced to intubate him, after his younger brother found him unconscious at the bottom of the stairs at their mother’s home.
Maddison Shaw’s sister Shaunna told Belfast Live that his family “thought he was dead”.
“The doctors were not able to reassure us he’d make it,” she said. “They said we were in a waiting game and the outcome was unsure because his condition was critical.”
According to his sister, Maddison Shaw’s head swelled up “like a balloon” as doctors treated him with fluids.
Maddison Shaw, who was so weak doctors were initially afraid to move him to intensive care, is now recovering at home.
Shaunna added: “He had had a tough time about seven weeks ago after a relationship broke up and he says he got Xanax tablets to try to give him a wee lift. But he nearly got a wee lift in a coffin because he nearly died.”
His devastated mum, Angela Maddison Hutcheson, is now warning other young people about the dangers of drugs.
Posting a photo of her son in hospital on Facebook, she wrote: “As most of you know, this has been the worst two days of my life, but God is good and has answered every one of my prayers.
“I took this picture of Callum while on life support.”
Although admitting that she was reluctant to make the photo public, Maddison Hutcheson said it would be worth it if it helped people.
“Look at how lucky he is to pull through, and I mean he is very lucky,” she wrote.
“Please don’t [make] your mums ever have to take a picture of any of you like this.
“Please feel (free) to share this because this could maybe save someone’s life.”
The photo has been shared more than 100 times on Facebook since it was posted on Tuesday.
One social media user commented: “Hope he recovers ok and he is able to get the help he needs.
“My wee brother is a recovering drug addict - he’s been clean over a year now, was on drugs from aged 12. It’s hard to watch what them pills does to kids.”
Another added: “Thoughts and prayers are with you all. Thank you for sharing this picture and your story. May other lives be saved. God bless.”
In January, thousands of people shared photos of teenager Leah Robinson in a medically induced coma after taking ecstasy to urge other young people to stay away from drugs.