Exclusive: Home and Away's James Stewart says new story is "greatest challenge"

·3-min read

Home and Away spoilers follow.

Home and Away's Justin Morgan has been struggling with a painkiller addiction after a surfing accident.

Justin (James Stewart) has been dealing with extreme back pain and started taking medication for it. However, things escalated quickly and he became reliant on them, so much so that he also suffered a near-fatal overdose.

Speaking exclusively to Digital Spy, James said that Justin felt "like an idiot" after his surfing accident, explaining that he didn't go out on the water anticipating to hurt himself.

James also explained that this storyline is one of the biggest topics he's ever portrayed in his acting career.

Photo credit: Jeremy Greive - Channel 5
Photo credit: Jeremy Greive - Channel 5

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"To be honest, my initial reaction was it's an honour to tell the story of people who have actually been through this and there's a long list. Whether it be prescription medication or any sort of medication," James said.

"Some of the very best people in the world have had their trouble. To get given this storyline at Home and Away it was my greatest challenge and my greatest privilege. I really went at this one!"

When asked about whether Justin has considered the consequences of overmedicating, James said Justin hasn't, specifically because when he takes the medication he can carry on living his normal life.

James said: "It doesn't seem like a consequence to him and that's the very difficult problem. That's where the problem is. Any great doctor or rehabilitation specialist would tell you; you've got to suss out that pain, let the pain come, learn to live with that pain and it must be absolute agony for some of those guys. I can't imagine and I can imagine why you would become addicted to painkillers."

Photo credit: Jeremy Greive - Channel 5
Photo credit: Jeremy Greive - Channel 5

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Speaking about tackling an important subject matter, James said that he "absolutely loved" this storyline.

"I absolutely loved this. I did at least a decade of Shakespeare with the Great Shakespearian Company here in Australia that Geoffrey Rush began, and Shakespeare wrote some pretty big topics, so I'm pretty used to big scale topics and big voice," James explained.

"I don't mind being up in the back of a scene, making a cup of tea and then walking out the back door, but I really love sinking my teeth into something that might change someone's life, just slightly."

Home and Away airs weekdays at 1.15pm and 6pm on Channel 5 (UK) and Mondays to Thursdays at 7pm on Channel 7 (Australia). Selected classic episodes are available via Amazon Prime Video in the UK.

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