Patric’s story of addiction and recovery

Patric’s story of addiction and recovery

Posted On: April 27, 2011
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Video interview with Patric, whose journey with drugs began aged 7 when he started sniffing solvents. Now 41, he has extensive personal experience with among others alcohol, heroin, crack, crystal meth, speed, dexedrine, cannabis, tobacco and LSD. He has sold drugs and spent a total of over 15 years in prison. He has now been in recovery (with the 12 step programme) for 8 years and works to help other addicts.

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1/36 Why be interviewed here?

I would like to give an honest view of my own personal experience of substance misuse and my experience as a known professional in the substance misuse field.

2/36 First contact with drugs – solvents, cannabis
Somebody close to me introduced me to cannabis. I was sniffing glue by the time I was seven. I come from quite a dysfunctional family. My father was an active alcoholic, I witnessed him trying to kill my mother. I don’t blame – I take full responsibility, although at seven years of age I don’t know how much responsibility I was able to take upon myself. It was just circumstances, it just was what it was, and as a result I fell into using drugs. Between five and seven, apparently, I was shut down emotionally, as my father went to prison. I’m not using that as an excuse for why I started using substances, but I’d become aware very quickly of cannabis and amphetamine sulphate. Legal substances never held any appeal: the illegals were the ones that I was attracted to.

3/36 Being a kid around alcohol drinkers
Alcohol was always around me because I come from an Irish background. It didn’t really hold any appeal, although it did give that jovial sense of loosening the wheels and liberating people. There was something about it that just didn’t hold any appeal for me until later on in my teens when I got introduced to drinking quite… raucously, shall we say: weekend benders and stuff like that. But alcohol was never really something that I was attracted to, because everybody was doing it, and I’d experienced the side effects of my father’s excessive drinking. I don’t want to call him an alcoholic because that would be up to him to diagnose for himself. So I saw the negative experiences, the violence and the intimidation, the fear, the bullying, the atmospheric changes of people when they drank alcohol, and it was something I wasn’t attracted to.

4/36 Gravitating to illegal drugs as a child
Illegal drugs, and everything that went with it, I think was because I didn’t have a sense of true self and I didn’t have any positive role models in my life – I was just left to develop by myself. My mother was experiencing the trauma of being with my father, so she had her stuff to focus on. She tried to guide me as best she could, but I was a wild child at seven, eight and nine years of age. I got put into care at nine.

5/36 Drugs stopped me from feeling anything
To tell you the truth, I was detached from feelings. It sounds a bit mad to say, but I don’t think I felt a lot of stuff during my life because I was always trying to escape from me. I remember thinking a lot, I remember sensing and experiencing trauma, violence, pain, fear and so on, but I don’t ever recall feelings. I would identify certain stuff that would go on inside. I was a very intelligent, articulate young person even at nine, ten or eleven years of age, but if you’d asked me what anxiety was I couldn’t have explained it to you. All I know was that I got this feeling in my stomach that I didn’t like.

6/36 Heavy drug use as a child: mushrooms, speed, cannabis
And then I started getting into mushrooms and amphetamine sulphate. When I found amphetamine sulphate I stopped smoking cannabis – I could stay up for days, which suited me perfectly. By the time I was twelve, I’d already experienced most of the substances that were about: mushrooms, acid, cannabis, speed. I hadn’t really used much cocaine or heroin, and crack wasn’t around then – it was freebasing cocaine.

7/36 Why I used drugs as a kid
I was looking for something to give me a sense of ease and comfort, primarily. I’ve come to understand that, although at the time I wouldn’t have been able to articulate it. All I knew was that I didn’t feel comfortable with me, when I was with you, or them, or anybody else. And the people that I was exposed to at such a young age were leading ‘the other side of the tracks’ lives; they were gently into crime, selling drugs here and there. Class-A drugs were not a part of my scene for a long time.

8/36 Growing up in a drinking culture
Where I was brought up it was a culture of drinking: you’d work hard and you’d go out and you’d drink, and you’d probably fight your best mate on the weekend but then go to work on Monday morning like nothing had happened.

9/36 Injecting speed from age 12
I’d been introduced to a set of bikers who were quite influential in the drugs scene where I’m from. I fitted in there because they saw this young boy who was just nuts, who didn’t really have any moral compass to restrain himself, and so I just excelled at taking speed. By the time I was twelve I was intravenously injecting, although for two years, from twelve to fourteen, I never once injected myself and I could never watch it happen because I was frightened of needles.

10/36 Crime and imprisonment, age 13
At thirteen I had my first prison sentence in a detention centre, for theft.
Were you stealing to pay for your drugs?
No, I was stealing just because I was stealing. I fell into stuff, because other people were doing it, so I did it. If it enabled me to fit into part of the clan, the crew, the people, the group, whatever, then I did it. Even though, obviously, I was very environmentally and socially aware, the people that I ran with weren’t liked where I was from, they were the “stay away from them” sort. My Mum, bless her, would always try and encourage me to stay away from them. My father would try to beat it out of me, my mother would try to love it out of me. But I just truly think that I was embarking upon this course and there was nothing that was going to prevent me completing it.

11/36 The law, police and illegal drug use
I was always aware that the drugs that I was taking were illegal. I’ve never had a fear of the police, I’ve never had a fear of the law. I was completely anti-law. I don’t know where I got these values from, I’ve no idea where I got these ideas from, but it was an “us and them” mentality.

12/36 My attitude towards police as a child
My attitude to the police was complete disdain, As far as I was concerned it was an occupational hazard. I went out to commit crime and take drugs and it was their job to try and catch me… and they did. Lots of times, hence I was not a very good criminal. I’ve spent a considerable number of years in prison as a result of it.

13/36 Drug use in prison
In prison I was exposed to more drug use, however it was purely cannabis until Michael Howard came to parliament. He was the Home Secretary who brought mandatory drug testing in. It’s my personal opinion that he turned everybody in prison into heroin addicts, because, before, you could smoke cannabis in there, it was a real chilled atmosphere in prisons – people were stoned and it was all right. As soon as he brought the mandatory drug testing in you couldn’t, because cannabis stays in your system for up to 28 days; heroin you can get out of your system in three days if you flush yourself properly with water.

14/36 I think the drug laws don’t work
My opinion of the law regarding this stuff is that they are trying to enforce something that is way beyond their control and as a result the resources that are being slung at it are being mis-slung. They are trying to force a round peg into a square hole and they will get the peg into the hole, regardless of the damage it’s causing. I think they just need to refrain from it and have a complete overview of what goes on in this country regarding drug use.

15/36 Methadone doesn’t help addicts
It’s almost like they’ve created this machine of addiction around – heroin, primarily. Their idea of treatment is a maintenance script of methadone and I know people who have been on methadone for 12 years. In reality that’s not treatment, that’s maintaining somebody’s habit.

16/36 Selling drugs in London
I moved to London twenty-odd years ago as a result of being influenced by the money potential in selling drugs, earning quite large amounts of money from bringing drugs from the West country to London, exchanging it for more drugs and going back and selling it. My life has been like two escalators, one where all the normal people are running and walking and living, then you’ve got this life of mine, this escalator of my life here that’s just on its own path. And I’ve always tried to step off this escalator and fit into your life and I remember looking at people who were cleaning their cars on Sundays and 2.4 kids and Volvos and hunter wellies and all that, and I so wanted it, but could never get it.

17/36 Me, London; drugs and the 90s
I fitted right into London because there’s a sense of anonymity in this city; you can become lost in 25 different scenes in one pub. And so I got into lots of stuff, lots more crime. I wasn’t yet embarking upon class-A drugs. I was selling cocaine and some ecstasy when the rave scenes came about in the early 90s. My social circumstances had changed, and the environments had changed, and the groups of people changed, all as a result of the drugs that were influencing people at that time. I’d moved out of taking speed and was taking Dexedrine, which is a pharmaceutically-prescribed medication which they use as a slimming pill, apparently. The person I used to get those from lived in London was a DJ, so I kind of transcended from the West country to London via Dexedrine and picked up ecstasy and music. And as soon as I’d done that I was in a completely different world.

I was part of rave culture driving around trying to find a field. It was fun. Lots of people were getting caught with large quantities of ecstasy but you just needed to step up your game to try and evade the police. But while that was going on I applied to go to University and got in on a philosophy degree.

18/36 University – a dealer’s goldmine
I left school with not a lot, I got asked to leave school pretty young. By the time I was 15 I left care: I was in a residential school, they didn’t wait for me to wait till I was 16, I left. I had no formal qualifications, but I managed to get into university. Loads of students who took drugs and drank stupid amounts of alcohol, and had money – I was in my element, I was just making more money selling drugs there than what I’d ever been doing anywhere else. So obviously my studies became affected.

19/36 Starting to use heroin after my partner killed herself
Then the partner I was living with at the time committed suicide. I left from Uni one day, went home and found her. As a result of that, I went out, got drunk, took some valium, which were prescribed to me by my doctor at the time, and I got really drunk and started a fight with a load of Hell’s Angels. I got smashed to bits and sent to the Royal Free Hospital, where I met somebody who had the same name as me. I was on a gurney, and the nurse called the name out and we both stood up. I had my nose broken, cracked cheek, I’d lost a couple of teeth, fingers were broken, I was bleeding and so on and so forth and he said “you look like you’re in pain, I’ve got something here that can kind of help you,” and I said “what’s that?” So we went into the toilet, he pulled out a bit of baking foil and on that foil he had some heroin. He ran the lighter up and down the heroin a couple of times, I smoked it and my pain instantly left. It was like the Ready Brek glow. I left the hospital with him there and then and that was the start of my heroin habit.

20/36 My crimes changed with my drugs
The nature of my crimes changed to feed my drug addiction. I was a chance criminal. I’d like to think I was some big gangster, an organised crime boss, but I was a petty thief really. And not a very good one, as I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in prison as a result of chasing something that I would never get, to get a drug that would never fix me.

21/36 Heroin use took over my life
I’d always used needles, that’s the ultimate that I know. I started to mix with people who were street users, homeless, rough sleepers, with the people that are socially excluded as a result of their substance use. And I felt comfortable because I’d kind of abdicated the responsibility of living life. But, you know, I attempted suicide, I’ve been sectioned, I’ve been to prison. And there were several times when I should have died.

22/36 I left the country to escape heroin

I’d tried several things: I went off and lived in another country, I left this country and went and lived in Thailand for a couple of years and ended up taking crystal meth and drinking vodka alcoholically. I went out there to get off heroin and crack, and picked up crystal meth and vodka. I ended up having a bad bike accident in 2002, broke my back, my legs, both wrists, shoulder – I was in a terrible state. I came back to this country where I had an outstanding warrant and was on the run from the police.

23/36 Getting arrested with heroin

I eventually got arrested for theft, up in Highgate, to feed my heroin habit because when I landed back in this country I started using heroin again. And… it was only a matter of time. I was in a disabled toilet in Euston Road in Kings Cross with two prostitutes who I knew at the time. It was half two, three o’clock in the morning. I’d just robbed somebody of their money, I’m with these girls squeezing my neck trying to get a snowball of heroin and crack in a needle into my neck. And as I stepped out of the toilets there must have been half the Metropolitan police there waiting for me. They’d been watching me on the CCTV cameras. And in that moment I knew I was captured, in that split second, I felt relief, because I knew I couldn’t actively stop. I had all the consequences, all the reasons to stop, but the nature of the addiction, of what I was in at the time, meant that I couldn’t just say “well, I’m stopping now, I’ve had enough, let’s stop now shall we”. I didn’t have that ability. So the police intervention in 2002 was my lifesaver, it was my godsend. The 2nd of September 2002 was when I was arrested and I’ve not used a drug, a mind altering chemical, since the 5th September 2002.

24/36 Being sentenced as an addict

I went to Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court where there was a judge, a circuit judge, who specifically requested the drug-related crimes to come to his court. He gave me a drug test and a treatment order, which is what they were called then – they’re now called DRRs – and I went to a treatment centre in Bournemouth and my life has completely changed since then.

25/36 Why 12 steps worked for me

I got exposed to a 12-step fellowship, and the 12-step model, the ethos behind it, fits me perfectly. If you can imagine, my internal condition was fragmented with stuff and I’ve always sought external stuff to fix it. Of course the two are set up differently, they don’t work the same, and so it was almost like I was in constant conflict. I’d think that if I got something it would work, but when I got it, it didn’t and I’d want to come and live in your family and your family wouldn’t fix me and I’d go on that holiday and that wouldn’t work; I’d buy that car and that doesn’t work; those trainers, those shoes, those shirts, the watch, the girlfriend, the car, whatever. It doesn’t work because it’s all outside and this stuff needs to be fixed inside. It was like everything needed to be put into its own pigeon hole.

26/36 Working with addicts now I’m drug free

The 12-step model, which I’ve been in actively for the last seven years, has transformed my life completely. I now work as – I’m training to be a Dual Diagnosis practitioner, I work with Dual Diagnosis clients, ones who are experiencing mental health problems and substance misuse who come via the criminal justice route. And I excel at what I do. My job is just the best thing that I’ve ever found, because I’m in an environment that I’m fully aware of as an ex-service user, as a service provider, after doing it. I understand the nature of addiction and the complexities and the social structures of stuff that happens. And I’m dedicated to what I do, absolutely. I get in to work 45 minutes early. I make a difference. I’ve actually heard clients say “the only reason I did it is because I saw that he’s done it”.

27/36 How I think government could improve drug treatment

I’m interested in the impact of substance misuse on communities and the effect it has on people’s lives. I want to be a part of the solution to the problem that is fracturing this country and bringing it to its knees. I see millions and millions of pounds being slung in the direction of… I was going to use a profanity then, but… fucking useless, what they’re doing is fucking useless. The are some agencies and government officials that have an idea of what needs to be done but the general consensus of the government is still this ‘stiff upper lip’ stuff: ‘we need to be seen as though we’re doing this’ and it’s like an enforcement of… One model doesn’t fit everybody. And that’s what they need to understand. We have an army of people who are ex-service users who have solutions to the problems that are currently killing this country and the people in it. Yet they are afraid to utilise that resource, that wealth of knowledge – because of, even down to things like CRB checks now, this new government body that’s been set up, of ex-police officers, to check people’s criminal histories before they’re exposed to vulnerable people. Admittedly it needs to be regulated and monitored, but if somebody’s got a history of substance misuse, the likelihood is they’re going to get into a line of work that involves vulnerable adults, vulnerable people. The government are saying, because they think it’s right and they know what’s best, “no, no, no, you can’t work with them, we have trained professionals” – who are going to cost us £50,000 a year to help this individual, and this individual is looking at them with contempt because they have never experienced what they’re going through. I want to be a part of change. I want to be a part of finding a solution to what takes place in this country, with regards to substance misuse and offending behaviour specifically.

28/36 Why and how our approach to drug education needs to change

I believe that the very fabric of family life in society is very quickly falling apart and we have the media, we have education, we have the law, which are all social control agents that are dictating to the people of this country what they feel they need. They’re looking at youths today and they’re giving them ASBOs this, and der-der this, and forcing that. These children have got emotional complexities that far surpass going on an Outward Bound activities course and learning team building skills; they can’t even communicate their feelings and articulate what’s going on for them.

What should they be doing with those kids?

They should be starting back to bare basics, looking at emotional stability in the children of today, starting at a very young age. We wait too long – seven and eight years of age – children are already carrying knives and gun running for elder criminal influences. I believe the educational system needs to start focusing more on the real stuff that children of today, the youth of today, need – a bit like the Montessouri principle. Let’s look at the emotional stability in children before trying to teach them English and Maths: that stuff’s important, but you’re trying to give somebody an exam who can’t even articulate what the feelings are they’re going through. I do some gang inclusion work around this area, I work with some kids on the Crescent, voluntarily. It’s almost like they’re starting three quarters of the way down the problem and they’re trying to give it a solution that won’t fit. But I believe that for youth reasoning behind using substances is not the same as for the adults that are using maybe the same substances: they’re completely different.

29/36 What does it feel like to be drug free?

My immediate answer would be ‘I don’t know’ because I don’t know what it used to feel like to be me. It’s like I’ve had a complete personality change. And I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t take any drugs – I try not to take prescription drugs even. What it feels like is er… what does it feel like? It’s just the bollocks, it’s the best thing. I am the person now that I’ve always wanted to be and I do the things now that I’ve always wanted to do. It’s almost like I have a duty of care to everybody I come into contact with today because of the damage I’d caused in my life.

30/36 An addict’s view on recreational drug use

If people use recreational drugs and their lives do not become affected, and no one who is involved in their life is affected, then I think all it is is that there is such pressure in today’s day and age – we’re in a target driven society at the minute for whatever reason – I think people just need an out, they just need a release. Some find it in yoga, some find it in the gym, some find it in smoking cannabis twice a day, some people find it in drinking a bottle of wine in the evening three times a week. That’s all well and good, if it works for them, fine. It’s when it starts to have the adverse effect, when it makes their life somewhat unmanageable, whether it be the next day or whether it be the consequence of their actions as a result of taking the substance. I think that is the line, and when that line is crossed it has a detrimental effect upon the person. But I think ultimately there are a lot of people in society today that are seeking ease and comfort.

31/36 I wouldn’t have been interested in licensed drugs

I think I wouldn’t have done them, because there would have been nothing risqué about it. I think it was that non-conformity: it was a bit illegal, it was a bit wrong. There was that element to it. I don’t think I was compos mentis enough at that age to really figure that stuff out. All I saw was that there was this something that was going on there that I wanted to be a part of, because I fitted in, because my behaviour fitted with the lifestyle of the majority of the people who I was with who were taking the drugs. When you try to put me into society, my behaviour would be highlighted and people would go “he’s antisocial, he’s a juvenile delinquent”. That’s what I was called.

32/36 How regulating drugs could change things

It would definitely have an impact upon crime, without a doubt. With a lot of what goes on in society regarding heroin and crack use specifically, there’s obviously the sociological, the physiological aspect to it. With heroin you’re physically addicted to it; with cocaine, with crack, it’s probably the most addictive substance known to man, cocaine, because it’s a mental, it’s a psychological addiction. From what I’ve seen, it’s the pattern of behaviour that surrounds it. There’s that camaraderie, there’s that attachment to this behaviour surrounding getting and using a drug: it’s almost like an anti-climax when the drug is got, when the drug is used.

When they’ve got it, there is this whole rush of excitement, this anticipation of using it, there’s the – what’s the word? – there’s the getting of the pipe, the ceremony that surrounds it, the ritual of preparing it. There’s this heightened sense of “Yes”, but when they get it the drugs don’t even produce the effects they seek. I think obviously it would have some form of impact if the drugs were made legal, if they could go and get them from a pharmacy, but my opinion would be that those people who go into the pharmacy would seek a different cycle to produce that effect, it just wouldn’t be through drugs. I don’t know whether it would be through crime.

33/36 How the 12 steps treatment worked for me

Primarily the 12 steps is an altruistic movement of people that have identified in themselves defects and have fixed them, to a degree, one day at a time. And part of that is to transmit that message to those who don’t have it yet. But the art of it is to make it look attractive enough for somebody to go “I want to stop”, because you can lead a horse to water but it’d drown itself before it drinks, you know. And the 12 steps is basically admitting the problem, the belief and the faith in something other than me and my will. Looking at my selfish and self-centred behaviour, because drug addiction is the most ultimate selfish, self-centred act: its very nature is all about “I need to get this drug and I’m sorry, I really love you dearly, however, I need to get this drug first before anything happens between you and me”. And it’s about having humility, a kind of deflation of the ego, and trying to clear up the wreckage of the past that I’ve caused, the harm that I’ve caused, by making amends – it’s what I spoke about earlier. And for me, it’s about trying to achieve spiritual contentment, because if I address the spiritual kind of cancer that goes on inside of me, the resentment, the restlessness, the irritability, the discontent, the kind of antagonistic madness that I suffer from without a chemical in me, left by myself, ultimately that’s what I get to. If I address that, then mentally and physically I’m kind of straightened out. My pre-recovery was always about seeking outside stuff, thinking it would give me that internal peace of mind, yet when I’d get it, it had the opposite effect. It worked for a couple of minutes but then it would be gone and then I’d be up again. And I still get it today, you know, this is a permanent solution to picking up one day at a time, providing I do what I need to do to get what I need to get. If I don’t, the likelihood is I’ll get restless, irritable, discontented, regardless of what I’m doing. And when I get like that, my automatic default setting is to seek external comfort, by – it can be anything – food, shopping, laughter, women, sex, pornography, holidays, a better watch, a better bike, shoes, trainers… fucking whatever is it is. And if I continue down that line, ultimately I will exhaust every avenue except drink and drugs, I will exhaust every avenue and then ultimately my experience has been that I will look to drugs to give me that sense of ease and comfort because it is an instant fix. The 12 steps principle is all about enabling others to get what we have here, what I have.

34/36 Where do you get your release from now that you’re drug free

Helping others gives me a huge sense of release, on the days that I want to do it. Because I don’t wake up every day with a spiritual angel attached to me, wanting to go off and help the world. I do have that every day in me, sometimes I don’t want to go and do it. So sometimes I’ll go out and spend £500 on shopping, clothes, and then I’ll take £400 worth back the next day, because that’s the sense of ease and comfort I get. I work and I enjoy nice things, so my sense of release is now that I try to build relationships and rapports with friends. I go to the cinema, I like eating out, my flat is important to me. I enjoy going to 12 steps fellowship conventions – NA, AA, CA, whichever – the principle underpinning it is the same. I like to travel abroad, I’m going on holiday on the 3rd of January to Mexico; I’m going diving for 14 days in Cancun. I’ve done that stuff while I was using, but I was never there when it took place. I didn’t ever experience stuff. I’ve done a lot of things in my life, travelled all the continents, filled four passports, lived in Thailand, built a house, a whole heap of stuff, to try and give me that sense of ease and comfort, to try to get rid of the restlessness, the irritability, the discontent. But it was always through outside stuff. Now I just seem to have this position of neutrality that I sit in, for the majority of the days. It fluctuates, but I’ve got a better understanding about myself. I kind of know how I tick, I’m aware of what my defects are. I can be selfish, self-centred, the nature of the disease is very self-obsessed. So I know for a fact that in whatever avenue, whether it be voluntarily, financially in my work or in recovery of myself, I would be looking to be exposed to people who are still using and drinking, who want a way out but don’t know how. Because without that I’d just go straight back to jail really: it’s only a matter of time, that’s been my experience. When I stop doing this, I revert back to type and my type is “I need” – don’t know what I need but I need it and I’m going to go get it.

35/36 God and the 12 step programme

Actually I don’t believe in God, it isn’t a prerequisite to believe in God to come into recovery, it’s just that I was so fucked that if you’d have told me anything in the beginning that would have got me clean, I’d have done it. I do truly believe there is a bigger picture that I’m not aware of, but I don’t need to be aware of it. As long as I do the nitty-gritty bits here and there – the footwork, the bigger picture will be rosy, it’ll be a lot better than what it fucking used to be. I’ve spent nearly 15 years of my life in prison as a result of my substance misuse; I’ve had some horrific stuff take place in my life where I was always – not necessarily the victim – but it was, I remember, almost like carrying my bag of troubles on my back as my identity and going “Look, this is why I am like I am”. And no, it’s not. I am like I am because I’m fucking selfish and self-centred, and the way to counteract that is to go and look to see who I can be of service to; who I can go and help, for no motives. Because if I come into this thinking of what I’m going to get out of it, it goes wrong for some reason. If I come into this thinking of how I can best improve your life, in whatever aspect, I walk away with priceless artefacts and I don’t know what they are, but I walk away feeling blessed.

36/36 Mass media coverage of drugs

I think the media coverage of drug use in general is very one-sided. It’s all about the message that they are trying to portray, of what drugs do, the consequences of drugs and so on and so forth. But I always look at the media as a social control: it’s a control agent, regardless of who’s at the helm. And I think they give a very tainted picture of the truth. For example. Lea Betts’ dying was very sad, but why do they not publish the people that die from cancer, from smoking-related illnesses or alcohol-related diseases? These are very considerable – a hundred thousand a year or thereabouts. My opinion is that while there is huge amount of revenue generated from the tax on alcohol and tobacco, there’s no revenue generated whatsoever for the government from ecstasy. But I think the media coverage of drugs is more on the impact of drugs and the negative aspect of them. Drugs are negative, I’m not disputing that, that’s not my point, but I think they should give a wider picture of the truth of drug abuse in this country because what they do is very one-sided and it’s all down to what they want the public to see. I would love to be on the front of a national newspaper with this, saying it as it is, because it’s a sense of reality, it’s a sense of honesty, it’s truth, it’s fact, it’s based on what took place. It’s not some half-arsed fucking editor or journalist sat in an office somewhere down Pall Mall, wherever the fuck they are, in Fleet Street, writing absolute crap based on one person’s story. I think it’s very misguided. It definitely doesn’t give a true picture to the general public of what the problems are in this country around drug use. No way. For the people that actually write the stories, it’s all about the drama, it’s all about ‘we need to catch the imagination of the general public and this is how we’re going to do it”. What you’re saying has some element of truth in it, of course it does, but it’s not fact. What you’re saying has an impact and the impact it has is not the right one, it’s not the truth. People who read the papers know the majority of it is absolute bollocks, but there are a lot of people out there who think it’s actual fact, bless them. That is why, primarily, I wanted to participate in this project: because I want to be able to give a broader picture, more scope to believe in, and hopefully this will have some effect. And I’ll be a kind of devil’s advocate, it’ll balance the scales, because at the minute the scales are one-sided. It isn’t a true picture of what goes on in society and doesn’t reflect the true nature of the society we live in because it’s controlled by people who have no fucking idea about it. It’s almost as though they filtered through the information that they want the public to get, yet the public are looking at it and saying “Well, that’s not quite right, surely”.

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