AN East Renfrewshire dad has told how he turned his life around after becoming “sick and tired” of taking drugs and being sent to prison.

At the age of 16, Steven Ferguson was getting into trouble with the police and was already addicted to drugs.

Fast forward 13 years and the Neilston man is now hoping to become a professional boxer.

Steven, 29, has recently won two titles, supported by dedicated coaches at North Glasgow ABC Boxing.

It is a remarkable turnaround for someone who started taking drugs when he was just 11.

“I was addicted to drugs when I was 16 and, before that, I was smoking cannabis every day,” Steven said. “The drugs got worse as I turned 15. It was alcohol, ecstasy, valium and any kind of prescription medication I could take.

“When I was younger, my mum and dad were caught up in addiction as well. Back then, I thought I took drugs because they made me feel good but really, when I was taking them, it was taking away the pain of emotional traumas that I had.”

Steven became involved in violence and it wasn’t long before he was sentenced to time behind bars, aged 17.

After five years of living in and out of jail, with the longest sentence being 22 months, Steven became determined to change his life.

He said: “I worked with this woman and she would see me when I got out of prison. She was the only person that stuck by me and would see me every week, regardless of the state I was in.

“She found me a treatment centre in Greenock.”

As part of his rehabilitation, Steven went to a boxing group once a week to “let off a bit of steam.”

He said: “A guy would take you on the punchbags and the pads and he used to say to me ‘you maybe have something here if you stick with this.’ “I enjoyed it.”

After getting his life back on track, dad-of-two Steven began taking his interest in boxing to a new level.

He goes to boxing training three times a week.

“Since I’ve been there, I’ve been successful in winning Scottish Elite titles,” said Steven, who worked as a youth development worker but got made redundant due to the Covid pandemic and is now a hospital porter at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. “It’s a massive achievement.”