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ebook / ISBN-13: 9781529366372

Price: £14.99

ON SALE: 27th May 2021

Genre: Health & Personal Development

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When Dan died, I realised many things.

I realised drugs were closer to our door than I’d thought.
I realised drugs have become normalised for young people.
I realised drugs are more affordable, accessible and available than ever before.
And I realised I didn’t know enough, and nor did Dan, to navigate the choices and come back alive.

When Daniel Spargo-Mabbs was 16, he went to a party and never came home. The party was an illegal rave and Daniel – bright, popular, big-hearted prom king Dan – died from a fatally strong overdose of MDMA.

In the seven years since, the range of substances has become wider, the levels of exposure higher, and the threat to young people’s physical and mental health from drugs greater than ever before. Despite this, there is almost no guidance for parents to help their children navigate this perilous landscape and to stay safe.

To come home at night.

To grow up.

This book is everything Fiona Spargo-Mabbs wishes she’d known, everything she wishes she’d done, before she lost her son. Because however you parent, and whatever you do, at some point your child is likely to be in a situation where they have to make a decision about drugs. What if that decision is ‘yes’? Do they know what the risks are? Do they have strategies they can bring to bear if things go wrong?

I Wish I’d Known interweaves the story of one family’s terrible loss with calm, measured and practical advice for parents. It explores the risks posed by illegal drugs, and explains the way the adolescent brain makes decisions. There is practical advice for saying safe, information on reducing harm, and ‘talking points’ for parents and their children to do, talk about, look at, look up or consider.

A life lost to drugs is a loss like no other. Throughout the book, Daniel’s story – his life, his death and what happened afterwards – not only provides a compelling reminder of the importance of those conversations, but also serves as an unforgettable eulogy to a son, brother, boyfriend and friend whose legacy continues to touch, and perhaps even save, the lives of other young people.


Fiona's story is heart-breaking, but her honesty and generosity in telling it will undoubtedly prevent other parents from finding themselves in a similar situation. This book is an absolute must for any parent wanting to have a meaningful conversation with their children about drugs.
Alicia Drummond, MBACP Accred., Founder, Teen Tips
Incredibly powerful. I can't imagine what it must have been like to write [this book]. But in amongst the heart-breaking story, the information, advice and evidence is meticulously researched, and navigates every parent's worst nightmare without scaremongering. Every parent should read this: it's not a frightening message, it's empowering, and a message of hope.
Dr Suzi Gage, psychologist, podcaster and author of 'Say Why to Drugs'
This book is unique and will transform many of the lives of its readers.
Professor Janusz Jankowski
Dan's beautiful, intelligent, witty, big-hearted character is the golden thread in I Wish I'd Known. There are excellent practical, achievable ideas for parents and professionals; there are also personal testimonies and insights into the legal and medical systems that make for essential reading for anyone concerned about young people's drug use. [From] living through the most painful experience a parent can face, I know I Wish I'd Known will grow many good things from a very bad thing.
Emma Crawshaw, CEO, Crew2000
Beautifully written... a personal journey through the loss of a son, the book [also] provides a valuable resource of factual detail about drugs and alcohol. A must for parents, those working with young people, and young people themselves.
Betsy Thom, Professor of Health Policy, Middlesex University
Enlightening and informative... A book that educates as much as it moves, it deserves to be read far and wide, by parents and professionals alike.
Dr Ronny Cheung
A testament to parental love, and a resource of tremendous importance for all those who care about young people.
Lady Kate Cayley, Deputy Head of Boarding, Marlborough College
This book is a very significant achievement.
David Mackintosh, Global Public Health Network
A powerful and important book... Beautifully and poignantly written. I would recommend this book to every parent I know.
Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore
Written with determination, humility and sadness - any parent or carer will be better informed and wiser after reading it.
Professor Dame Carol Black
An ambitious and important work. Moving, informative, honest and practical.
Dr Eric Carlin, Director, Director of Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems
A vital book which has the power to prevent tragic drug related deaths among young people. A must read for any parent.
Paul North, Volteface
This is such an important book[...] Fiona has used her devastatingly sad experience with Daniel to help all of us and this book should be essential reading for parents of teenagers.
Gabby Logan
This may be a life-saving book. Deeply personal and moving, yet packed with relatable, practical and expert information and advice, I Wish I'd Known is an invaluable guide for parents in supporting children to make safer choices about drugs and alcohol. Every parent should read it.
Laura Bunt, We Are With You
Incredibly powerful and also very practical. Fiona wants to make sure no mum or dad ever has to go through what she went through. This book is a must-read.
Victoria Derbyshire
This book is going to save so many young lives... Thank you, Fiona, for all you are doing to change the course of history
Elizabeth Burton Phillips MBE; Author, Founder of DrugFAM
If there was a national curriculum for parents, this book should be on it.
Stuart George, BBC Radio Stoke