Kicking the habit

Former addict, ex-convict says road to recovery a difficult one

CORNER BROOK — Brace yourself. This is the story of Nicole (not her real name). She is a 25-year-old woman from Corner Brook, a drug addict.

She was born into a “well-to-do” family whom she said cared for her deeply. No family members even smoked cigarettes, let alone marijuana. Snorting Ritalin or injecting Dilaudid. Well, was that even possible?

Nicole smoked her first joint at the age of 12. She was smoking cigarettes and saw the “cool” kids doing pot and tried it. She didn’t even like it at first; said it made her feel weird and scared. She began dating a guy, she called him a “bad boy,” a “regular pot smoker.”

Nicole become a regular pot smoker. She had draws with friends at school during lunch, afterwards in the evenings and on weekends. She was still 12.

Eventually weed “wasn’t cutting it anymore.” Oral Valium and Atavan, prescription drugs of choice on the street, followed.

“You name it, I’ve taken it,” she said.

Nicole remembers times at high school, being “whacked.” She ate pills during school hours, again on evenings and weekends. She saw the school’s guidance counsellor about her problem, was taken to the Humberwood Addiction Centre, but it didn’t do her any good. She wished her teachers and school counsellor had done more for her at the time; she believes they could have because they had to have known the extent of her problem.

She started to snort Ritalin, “the cheap man’s cocaine,” as she calls it. She got it from people at school, and in the community.

“Unfortunately, there are so many people out there getting drugs from doctors and selling them to children, which was my case,“ Nicole said.

She remembers being at school, trying to crush a pill, with the bell ringing for class, and snorting pieces of pill among the finer powder.

The Ritalin made her sociable at first. She said she became the life of the party. But it changed her. It made her “weird” and quiet, and she said things were getting worse and worse. She dropped snorting Ritalin; it was easy for her to stop. The weed and eating pills continued.

Nicole went to her high school graduation, but not as a graduate. She didn’t get all the required credits. She says she didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life.

In 2002, she went through a break-up and became depressed. She said she didn’t care about herself or anybody else. At 18 years of age, a much older man injected her with Dilaudid. It was something she swore she would never do. She was afraid of needles and knew the consequences. Immediately, she said she was addicted.

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