Turn your life around

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A YOUNG child facing his first day of primary school with only his mother by his side.

Where was Dad? Was he at work? At the mines perhaps? Had he passed away?

The heart-breaking truth is that dad had been awake for three days on methamphetamine before conking-out.

The boy’s mother Julie (not real name) tried unsuccessfully to wake him.

“The sadness I saw in my son’s eyes was heartbreaking, when he knew that daddy couldn’t come and see his first day of big school,” she says.

This is the story of Julie, who freed herself from the shackles of addiction and domestic violence to make a better life for herself and her son.

“I was 23 years old when I first tried methamphetamine,” she says.

“I didn’t really think much of it at the time, I didn’t know much about it.

“It was my partner who introduced me; he had previously used, he was a person that I trusted so I thought it must be ok.

“I suppose I tried it as an avenue of fun at first, experimenting with something I didn’t fully understand.

“Everyone else I was around was doing it, so I guess I got sucked in.”

Julie claims she didn’t know that meth was super addictive, but it quickly took over her life.

“I worked a lot; three jobs just to feed the ‘addiction’ and pay the rent and bills. It became more of a necessity as time went on to get through the long days. I spent around 300 dollars a week on meth. My partner at the time was a dealer, so 300 was about as cheap as anyone was getting it at the time”.

Julie says domestic violence fuelled her addiction.

“I also used meth as an escape from the violence I faced at home. Going and getting high made it easier to deal with the tension and abuse”.

“I went from being a fun and outgoing size 16 to being a paranoid size eight; walking down the street thinking everyone knew I was on drugs”.

Eventually Julie had enough and went ‘cold turkey’.

“I made a plan to escape not only the drug use but the violence I experienced everyday. After the school drop-off, I sat with my mum. I told her everything. My mum is such an important person to me; by letting her know exactly what was going on I knew that I was completely done with that life”.

According to the Australian Crime Intelligence Commission, meth accounts for 88.2 percent of illicit drug use in WA – the highest percentage in the country.

Every week between 27-30kg of meth is consumed in Perth alone.

Julie, now in her mid-30s, says there needs to be better drug education in WA schools.

“Children need to be properly informed about the destructive nature of this drug. I feel if I was better educated then I would never have tried such a drug in the first place”.

Disclaimer: Courtney Reiss Hall is friends with Julie.

by COURTNEY REISS HALL

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