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Olly's story

How did drugs come into your life?

Through friends and that first.

What sort of age were you?

Thirteen - I used cannabis and I think I tried phet as well.

You tried amphetamine at 13?

Yeah. 

So were the people you were hanging around with your age, older, or younger?

Mainly my age and a few people older than me.

And where do they get the drugs from?

Their mates.

Was it a big group of you? 

Four or five of us.

Where did you go to do this?

We would go to mates’ houses when their mum wasn’t there and sneakily do it.

What was it like the first time you did drugs?

I did think it was really good and that and I just wanted to get weed.

So you quickly got into it?

Yeah I really wanted it.  I started buying some and didn’t stop, it’s been that way ever since.

You are 15 now, so for the last 2-3 years you have used cannabis regularly.  So when you first started I’m guessing you didn’t smoke as much.  How much were you using to begin with?

A 1/16th would last me 2 days.  That would cost £12.50

How long does a 1/16th last you now?

A couple of hours, 3-4 hours max.

How much would you smoke a day now?

Between a 1/16 and an 1/8th because I would chip in with mates as well to get more.

Back when you first started two years ago, did you think you would be doing this now?

No I didn’t have a clue, I don’t know what I was thinking, I was a little boy.

What has cannabis done to change your life?

It’s changed the people I hang around with and it’s changed me.

How are you different?

I’m a lot angrier and get wound up easier.

Is that to do with the Cannabis?

Yes. if I wake up in the morning I am angry until I have a smoke.  I have this feeling inside until I have some.  I get this craving and then I am normal once I have some.

When do you think it got that bad?

I started to realise it 4 months after I started smoking it.

You felt hooked 4 months in?

Yeah I noticed a difference in me when I didn’t have it.

When did your family find out about it?

At about that time as well.  Then I started trying to get some help about it and that’s when I first came to you.

That was through a YOT referral wasn’t it?

Yeah, I was arrested for having a gram of cannabis.  They put me on something and I thought I would get some help.  I was about 14 then.

Your mum and dad knew about it at that point.  Were they providing you with the money to buy it?

Yeah.

What happened if you didn’t get any money from them?

I got really angry, started throwing things around and putting my hands through walls. 

So you damaged stuff?

Lots of stuff.

What would your mum do when you did that?

If she had the money she would give it to me and if she didn’t she would try and put up with me.  She would sit in a different room and try and ignore me.

At that point your dad was away working. 

Yeah it was really hard back then trying to get money as they didn’t want to give it to us.  But they did in the end until they had no more money left to give us.

Your older brother would do the same to get money for Cannabis.

We would both get the same.  If he had a tenner I would have a tenner. He would do other stuff to get money. Like sell stuff or ring people to borrow money.  If he couldn’t borrow it he would sell things.

Was he selling his own stuff?

No he would sell mum and dad’s stuff.  Things from around the house.  Mum wasn’t very happy but it kept him from smashing the house up.

Your parents would never call the police on you?

No they wouldn’t do that.

Do you think things got out of hand?

In what way?

You seemed to be holding your parents to ransom if they didn’t do what you wanted.

Yeah it was really bad.  If I had kids that did that to me I wouldn’t know what to do.  I’d probably walk out.  You would be stuck.  I don’t know what I would do.

Have things changed now that dad doesn’t work away so much?

Not sure as dad doesn’t tell us off or anything.

Have you ever managed to control your urges to smoke and has this been more difficult than you thought it would be.

Yeah - one night I didn’t have any and I started chucking stuff around downstairs.  I then just made a cup of coffee and sat and watched TV and thought this isn’t too bad really.  I didn’t sleep well but I got through it.  But I have only ever done one night without it.  If I didn’t have weed I would be sat up all night.

You think you get angrier now you use it?

I know I get more angry.

If you were able to go back in time would you do things differently?

I wouldn’t smoke it.  If I had the chance to go back I wouldn’t touch it.  I would like to see how my life would be different.

Do you think you could still have a drug free life. 

No, probably not.

So cannabis has to be part of your life forever?

Hmm… I’ll have to give up one day. But I just can’t see myself doing it.  I don’t know what I would do with my time.  

Does that worry you?

Yes, I just don’t know what I would do with myself.  I haven’t got a clue.  I can’t remember how I was when I was younger.

All that stuff you used to do before cannabis doesn’t seem like fun now?

I just can’t see myself doing it.  I can’t see it in my head.

How big a part of your day is cannabis? Because you come to school.  Explain what your timetable is like.

I come to school everyday and do three and a half hours of school a day.

You were struggling with school?

Yeah I was, but this is better.

What was difficult when you were on a full time table?

When I got to lunch time I would get agitated because I wanted to use weed.  My leg would be twitching and I get really snappy.  If someone says something I start going mad.  I would be so angry in class.

So underneath all the anger you were wanting to use cannabis.  So the afternoons were hard for you?

They were really hard so now having them off is perfect.

Do you have to smoke weed before school?

Not now but I used to.  But I stopped because I am living at my Gran’s at the moment. 

Have you noticed a difference with you?

I am a lot more angry in the morning but once I get going I seem to be ok.

Do you think it would be harder than it is to cope?

Yeah.  I think I thought it would be harder than it is.

Will you go back to smoking once you move from your Gran’s?

Hmm… not sure, probably not.  I have been smoking it differently lately and not having any till about 4 or 5 pm.  I then smoke till about 9.  I used to smoke throughout the day.  This gets me much more stoned.

Your tolerance has dropped?

Yeah it has.  It’s a good thing.  One shotty is getting me stoned where it used to take 4 or 5 to feel it.

Why has this happened?

Because I am smoking less.  Cutting down has been good.  I’m on a gram a day now. I was on £25 per day (1/8th).

Are you still agitated in the afternoons?

Yeah, if I think about having it.  Not being able to do it at home has meant I have to wait.

Where does Y-SMART come into your support - as you have never stopped using cannabis?

It keeps me on track and makes me think about making changes and cutting down.  If I don’t have that reminder I would forget about trying.  I have used Y-SMART a few times and in between, when I haven’t had your help, I smoke double.  It keeps me motivated.  I never used to be able to see the help it gave but I do now.

Do the plans help?  Does making a plan help people?

If they can keep that plan in their head, then yes.

What would help keep the plans in their heads?

Having good chats with them once in a while.

Is it about just chatting with people, or does offering to take them out to do things help?  So, for some people, a Y-SMART appointment is quite practical and about doing stuff together.

It depends on what you like really.  If you are an active person then going out will really help but I like having a good old chat.

We sometimes go for a coffee or a mocha, is that useful?

Yeah, I like that we go to places where there are lots of people and chat.

Thanks for chatting and telling us your story.