Waterloo Road actor shares secret 20-year heroin addiction ‘it was the biggest mistake’

Richard Mylan, who played deputy headteacher Simon Lowsley in the hit BBC drama Waterloo Road, has finally opened up on his 20-year battle with heroin, and wants to help ‘challenge the stigma’ of addiction

Video LoadingVideo UnavailableClick to playTap to playThe video will auto-play soon8CancelPlay nowRichard Mylan: TV star discusses battle with heroin addictionByEmma WilsonShowbiz Reporter

  • 12:58, 14 May 2022
  • Updated13:23, 14 May 2022
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Waterloo Road star Richard Mylan has shared his secret 20-year heroin addiction in an interview he said could be “career-ending”.


The 48-year-old actor, best known for playing deputy headteacher Simon Lowsley in the hit BBC drama, said he wanted to go public with his addiction to help reduce the “stigma”.

He acknowledged his admission that he used to be a “functioning professional addict” could hamper his career, but insisted: “I don’t care about that any more”.

Richard said he’s been in recovery for 10 years, and his addiction began at the start of his acting career when he was performing in London theatres.

He said it was the “biggest mistake I ever made”, and said he was battling “crippling anxiety” as he began his career.

The actor was best known for his role in Waterloo Road

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"I was in the West End from a young age and there was lots of alcohol and recreational drugs and that cemented certain negative behaviours,” he told BBC Wales.

Richard said she battled a “cycle of abuse” of getting clean and using drugs, and he was at his “absolute lowest”.

"My personal relationships suffered, my work relationships suffered and it robbed me of my inner ambition," he said, confessing it “took chunks of my life away from me”.

He also had roles in Coupling, The Bill, and Grownups


After celebrating 10 years clean, he now wants to “challenge the stigma” of addiction, as he believes it will help other addicts recover.

“Stigma has kept me from talking until now. Being in recovery doesn't define you and each step forward is a step towards who you really are. My recovery felt a journey back to me,” he said.

“What I care about is challenging our empathy response as a society,” the married father of two explained.

Richard has been clean for 10 years


“There are so many people out there who would never ever come forward because the stigma is so great,” Richard added.

The actor also had roles in BBC daytime drama Doctors, as well as The Bill, and starred alongside Sheridan Smith in the BBC Three comedy Grownups, as well as Coupling.

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