Monday, 28 January 2013

Crazy for party drugs

I stumbled across a documentary last night on BBC3 called 'Crazy for party drugs'
It followed a weekend in the lives of a group of twenty something's living in Leeds, documenting the rise of party drugs such as mephedrone (m-cat, meow meow), ketamine and GHB
These so called 'legal highs' were banned in 2010
Up until they were widely available in 'head shops'
These drugs fell through a legal loophole
They weren't advertised or packaged under their chemical names and were sold as things such as bath salts or plant food
Along with a warning that these substances were not fit for human consumption
They soon replaced ecstasy and cocaine as the new designer party drugs
Being cheaper and so readily available more and more people began taking them
People who would never have considered taking illegal drugs now tried these drugs under the illusion that they were safer
But this couldn't be further from the truth
These drugs are a cocktail of chemicals that we have no ides what the long term effects are
You are literally playing Russian roulette
At least with the likes of weed or cocaine you have some idea with what you are taking
We have little understanding of what is in these new party drugs

In Leeds it was  the biggest party night of the year
We were introduced to Tony and his friends as they prepared for a big night out
It didn't actually show them taking any drugs but it was plain to see that they were off their heads
I watched this programme cautiously
Because of my own history with drugs, watching people under the influence can massively trigger me
And I have to admit I was triggered
As I watched Tony and his friends dancing, smiling, hugging and kissing each other, memories of my own drug addled days came flooding back
I've been there
In a club
At a party
Eyes glazed
Chewing my gums to bits
Loved up
Out of my face
Feeling this amazing feeling of love and unity with all the people around me
Not wanting the night to ever end
But it does end
It has to
What goes up must come down
As the morning light seeps through the curtains, the dreaded come down begins

The next morning we meet Tony again
It's 8am and not having slept he is wandering around town
Talking shite as you do when you're off your face
He looked shocking
His eyes ruby red and falling out of his head
He  then left to go and score more drugs
I know that feeling

The story I really related to was Holly
Holly was a 23 year old fashion graduate living in Huddersfield
A stunning red head with ice blue eyes
She began taking mephedrone after she was attacked a couple of years previously
As we picked up her story she was trying to get clean
She had had enough of being a slave to drugs and desperately wanted to change her life
An aspiring fashion designer, she had big dreams
I felt hopeful about Holly
She seemed to have an inner strength and a real desire to live a drug free life
But drugs have brought the strongest of us to our knees
Holly had good insight in to her using and that's always a valuable asset
We saw Holly ad her friends out on Halloween night
She confessed that she was nervous to go out but felt strong enough to resist temptation
The camera interviewed her at various points through out the night and each time she said she hadn't used
But as  the camera left her at 6am the following morning, I don't know why but I guessed she had used
Even though she was coherent there was something just not right

Fast forward to Monday morning and we see Holly's dad
He is worried as she has not turned up for work and he hasn't seen or heard from her in 3 days
Immediately I knew she had slipped
I've been there
So ashamed from using that you can't bear to face anyone
Holly arrives home Monday evening looking dishevelled
Still in the same clothes we saw her in on Friday
She admitted to using
She had been in the club's bathroom when another girl invited her in to her cubicle and offered her m-cat
I know just how that feels
When your drug
Your comfort
Your escape is put right in front of you
It takes super human will power to say no
I know people who have been clean for years who would struggle to walk past a line of coke
Only being clean for 2 weeks and having been drinking, Holly did what most of us would have done
I call it 'fuck it syndrome'
Fuck it, I'll have a smoke
Fuck it, I'll have a line
Fuck it!
Holly was devastated that she had used but it's a lesson that most drug addicts learn the hard way
As a counsellor it treatment said to me once 'If you hang around a barbers shop long enough, you will end up getting a hair cut'
The trick is to not let a slip develop in to a full blown relapse
Not to say 'Fuck it'

Overcoming drug addiction is so much more that not picking up
It involves changing your whole life
Your friends
Your behaviour
Your way of thinking
In my case I moved across the country to get away from drugs
I don't go back to my old town
It's one big trigger
The streets I walked
The housed I used in
The shops I robbed
The people I hung out with
I just can't go back there

I'm pleased to report that at the end of the documentary Holly was 8 weeks clean and was launching her fashion business
I hope and pray for her sake that she stays clean
It breaks my heart to see young people throw away their lives for drugs
It's a life that only leads to hurt, pain, loss and emptiness
For  the addict and everyone around them
I've written about my own experience with legal highs
I once tried a substance called 'Ivory'
Sold as bath salts but I suspect it was mephedrone
It was one the scariest experiences of my life
I literally couldn't stop talking
I've never felt so out of control
I remember trying to make a cup of tea and not being able to get it together enough to carry out this simple
I took it on a Saturday and didn't come down until Monday
I cried with relief when I finally felt normal again

Did anyone see this documentary?
What did you think?


  1. I haven't seen it, but every time you write about your drug addiction, I am just so grateful that you survived it. Otherwise, you would have never started your blog and I would have never met you!!!!

    Big big big hugs <3

  2. Ah thanks sweetie
    I am blessed to have met you too

    Hugs right back atcha x

  3. My friend the other night was asking if we could smoke more often when we get our apartment. I thought about it honestly, as I was smoking hookah, and know, two or three years ago I would have said hells yes. I wasn't addicted to anything, but I dabbled in stuff that distracted me. At one point last year in college I was taking about 4 sleeping pills every other night so I would sleep like a rock and it gave me a sort of high, groggy feeling. In my senior year of high school I smoked more often and snorted pain killers a few times. But now, even though things still suck sometimes, numbing it with a high only makes it worse instead of better. Like...I'm trying not to drink if I can help it, because I'm a very emotional drinker...there's a fine line between drowning feelings and breaking the dam, if you know what I mean.

    But I definitely agree with you that the 21st century drugs, the synthetic ones, are the most dangerous. Just because you can't tell what they'll do or how much. We all know what will happen if you smoke weed. But who knows what's behind that pill or strip or powder. I get afraid for people sometimes when they try drugs that you've never even heard of. Just because it's new doesn't mean it's better or safer or anything.

    1. I'm glad that you got away from drugs relatively unscathed
      We are the lucky ones x

  4. I am a victim of unfortunately the effects of these 'party drugs'. I fell in the trap at 18 thinking they were safer and buying them at festivals which was socially acceptable. I then started buying them in head shops for nights out and before long I was smoking a substance similar to weed most nights. I then had my breakdown....I never told my parents but I think my breakdown and psychotic symptoms was the aftermath of taking too many of these drugs....Its scary what they could of done to me and now I am on permanent medication for psychotic symptoms, depression, anxiety etc xx

    1. That is so scary that your breakdown could've been down to drugs
      It can happen so easily
      I hope things get better for you x

  5. Wow, I will definitely check it out.
    I'm glad Holly is clean just as I'm glad you're clean. Drugs are scary. And they're doubly scary to me as I've never tried them and so they're sort of unknowns. Every time I hear about a drug you've tried shivers go down my spine. I'm so glad you were able to beat the addictions.

    1. I would definitely recommend this documentary
      Let me know what you think of it x

  6. I always love reading your posts like this. I'm so glad that you made the decision to move away from all of that and uproot your life to make a change in your life. I don't know if you heard about it, but over here in the states, a man in Florida ate bath salts and ended up eating another mans face right off. It's crazy what that shit does to you. Stay strong hun.

    1. It is crazy Katie and so scary
      Hope you're doing ok x

  7. I have actually seen this doc and it really pisses me off because the whole point of things like it are to deter young people from taking drugs. But lets be honest. those 'bad experiences' that people have are only one side of it. i love drugs of any form, but I know the dangers blah blah of addiction and so you have to learn to manage it. That is the story I feel they should be telling, because I don't think that 90% of the people that try them are going to feel out of control or rubbish about having taken them. But, I don't have children. And I could be wrong. Xo

    1. I guess I can only really speak for myself and my own experiences with drugs
      I have an addictive personality so I could never use recreationally
      I always wanted more, more, more
      It's true most people use and don't experience any ill effects but for the few who do it's a living nightmare x

  8. I haven't seen it but I've been the person close to an addict. I would remember coming to the bfs for the weekend and opening the drawer for a spoon and there being two left. I don't know why but that sticks with me. I remember that time I told him to choose and could see the internal struggle, but we know the choice. I feel bad and how angry I would get amd the guilt I would put on him when I was at my angriest. I feel bad now amd have apologized. It's hard, I know.
    Stay strong girl.

    1. I can't imagine how difficult that must have been Eve
      Well actually I can, having watched members of my own family in the midst of their addiction
      I hope your bf manages to stay clean
      He is blessed to have you in his life x

  9. Wow, thats so scary shit. I am thankful I was never introduced to drugs...I'm sure I would've become an addict. I'm bad enough with my prescription meds.

    I'm so glad you survived and that you are here to tell your story. You can be so valuable to those who are going through what you did.

    Thanks for the love on my blog. It means so much to have other 30-somethings out there. So often this disease is considered a teenage phase. People don't realize that it doesn't often go away...and that we, fully grown adults, are still grappling with the disorder.

    Take care, dearheart.

    1. I know sweetie
      Sometimes I feel like I am too old to have this illness but it's been with me for such a long time
      There are a lot of us in our 30's suffering in silence
      I'm glad you can get support here

      Take care of you too x

  10. I work in a mental health hospital and by far the toughest patients are those who have used "bath salts". The person is more unpredictable, dangerous, and normally unresposive to any medications we I've them to calm down. Everyone I have worked with agrees that they would rather handle a schizophrenic than someone who.took "bath salts". The scary thing is that people wil be admitted to the hospital weeks or even months after taking the drug and they would still be left with a bath salt syndrome: paranoia, hallucinations, incoherent speech and unpredictable behavior. And sadly there is no treatment, its just a waiting game, just hoping they return to themselves. Some don't. They stay committed to the hospital and get sent to the state hospital if they can't be discharged. One girl stayed here 90 days then went to the state hospital for a minimum of 6 months, with the hope that she will be ok to leave by then. Its pretty scary.

    1. It is so scary Josie
      The night I took that drug I really should have gone in to hospital
      I felt like I was going crazy
      Let's hope this trend doesn't last x

  11. I haven't seen the doco but "legal highs" are causing so much fucking drama here that it is ridiculous. What the actual fuck?!? As soon as one is branded dangerous they pull it from the market and a new one is out.

    The whole situation makes me angry and sick at the same time. Knee-jerk reaction from being raised by an abusive addict and more reasoned reaction of a scientifically curious adult. (Lol, fucking libertarians)
    If weed was legal Mum could have gone for rehab instead of risking jail.

    Clean but drinking. . . worries me. Please don't trade one addiction for another! Insert inevitable warnings about liver and kidney state and difficulty of getting transplants for ED patients here >.< I know you know but conscience won't shut up until I pitch in my .2 cents on the topic. (Our smallest coin is 10c, keep the change :p)

    Thank you so much for the comment. You're fucking amazing for taking the time to comment. You are brilliant and thoughtful and you always see the best even when we can't. You have so much passion and drive you could shake the world to it's foundations if you let it loose.

    Ruby on a dragon taking over the world. Headcannon confirmed.

    *Hugs you tightly*

    1. You are amazing too Peri
      You are one of a kind

      Sending you lots of love and hugs from across the world x

  12. I went and found this on iplayer after I saw your post and watched it, I thought it was really good. when holly is out on halloween, towards the end of the night when she said goodbye to the cameramen, i thought she was lying about not having taken it, there was some guilty tone in her voice, maybe it was just me? she seemed really sweet and hope she keep going.

    i have neverhad any experience of drugs, party drugs or any other ods other than prescription meds and paracetamol, it must be really hard to quit, you are very brave ruby, i can imagine if i started i would find it impossible to stop, anything that numbs the pain, i guess it is nly human and natural to use whatever means works.

    what are your thoughts about going back inpatient at the moment, have you talked about it with mary?

    1. I felt the same Nina
      Something just wasn't right when she said goodbye
      Like you say, she sounded and looked guilty

      I have thought about treatment but I haven't done anything about it
      I will probably see how this year goes and then make a decision

      Hope you're ok sweetheart x

  13. Ruby, I very rarely find myself at loss for words, but your post left be completely speechless.

    I have never had any experience with drugs myself (besides the occasional college weed smoking), but what you write about, what the documentary is about, all the comments above mine-- all of this is so very powerful that you certainly got me thinking...


    1. Thank you sweetie and also for following
      I'm going to check out your blog now x

  14. Bath salts are going to cause the zombie apocalypse, I'm pretty sure. A couple months ago, there was a guy just a few towns over who was off his face on bath salts. The cops came to his house and the guy disemboweled himself and threw his own intestines at the cops. And that was just a couple days after this other story I heard about some guy high on bath salts who ate the face off a homeless man. It's terrifying that these things are so easy to get. :/

    We're stronger than the drugs, though. <3

    I know this is like a month late, but thanks for the lovely compliment on my blog. :)


    1. Was that in Florida?
      I think I heard about that
      Yes, bath salts were the single most scary experience of my life
      I thought I had gone insane and the come down was horrific

      Your so welcome x

  15. Hi Ruby, Hello everyone......I was in floods of tears reading all these posts...I'll explain why. I'm a hairy arsed dry-stone waller and I work in the mud the Sun and the rain on the Pennines in Yorkshire and Holly is my daughter....I am SOOOO proud to say that she's been clean ever since that programme was filmed back in November wool pulling, no lies and we're closer than ever. Alison, my wife has been an absolute "brick" for me and Hols. She was the one who took her to Dr. Roache's rehab clinic in Leeds for councelling and helped her help herself get sorted out. Its been a struggle and still when I watch the documentary or read peoples comments about it I turn into a blubbering mess with conflicting emotions of sadness and shirt-busting pride....She's got a cracking job now, passed the first part of her driving test and is loving life. We sang karaoke together last night 30/01/14 in our local.
    I know I'm going on a bit but its a release for me to write about it. It wasn't exactly the family's finest hour but crikey the number of people who have collared her in Huddersfield since have cheered her on and told her that due to her influence on "telly" they've kicked the habit...Thanks Ruby for letting me put this down in writing and hope you are still "walking away from Hell's teeth"
    John XX

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