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Maddy is a second-year Lancaster University student. She is also a self-described drug addict and alcoholic.
So, Maddy, describe a typical day in your life.
Well, if I drank the night before then I wake up early, around 10AM. But if I got stoned then I don’t wake up until much later (3PM maybe?) and I usually miss my seminars. The new blended learning approach is actually pretty handy because it means that I don’t have to get to campus super early (or at all) because I can just catch up on the seminar recordings whenever I want.
I do work during the day. I do work for my course, do the readings, watch the lectures, sometimes call my mum.
Then, around tea-time, I feel exhausted. When I start feeling drained, I know that I need a drink or a smoke to perk me back up. If I go to bed without getting drunk or having a smoke then I don’t feel like the day’s finished.
And is that a normal cigarette or weed?
Oh, weed. I don’t smoke tobacco. I used to smoke joints (which is tobacco and weed) but then I started smoking blunts (which is just weed) and it goes down so much easier, you know? I smoke them a bit like cigarettes – definitely as often as other people smoke cigarettes.
You can’t really get addicted to weed but I do feel a difference if I don’t smoke one night – I don’t sleep as well, I get nauseous in the morning and I feel a bit down, emotionally. When it gets to that time of day, having a smoke is all I can think about.
I love the smell of weed and rolling the blunt and lighting it and smoking it. It’s like how some people enjoy knitting, I suppose. It keeps your hands busy.
Smoking weed is a bit like knitting? Interesting.
[Laughs.] Well, you know what I mean. It’s downtime. It’s a hobby that’s completely your own. I don’t have to worry about anyone else, about grades or test results, any of that. I get to see myself progress and know that it’s just for me.
You’ve told me a little about smoking weed daily. Do you take any other illegal drugs?
Well, I used to do a lot more last term. Every time we went out clubbing, I would take something.
I remember it started a few weeks into first term. I came to uni and I’d already taken stuff before (I literally took a pill in Ibiza, like the song) but it was always as a group and I’d make sure I only took a little because everyone’s heard horror stories about kids who die the first time they take ecstasy, you know?
But then, I was in a Lancaster nightclub (which I won’t name because you’re giving me a look like I shouldn’t) and someone offered me a sniff in the toilets. And, I’m not going to lie, when she said “sniff” my brain short-circuited and I thought she meant blow my nose.
Anyway, she holds up what looks like a little bullet or something and taps some white powder behind the nail on my pinky finger. I sniff it without thinking (because it feels a bit rude to say no when it’s free) and that was it. I walked back into the club feeling like I was ten feet tall. I was invincible. Everything was so much more fun.
There are only two decent clubs in Lancaster, so nightlife was getting boring but suddenly everything was interesting again.
Do you know what it was that you took that night?
Yeah. I mean, maybe. I think it was coke. As in, cocaine. I never asked.
That night was the start of it. Since then, I would take anything that was offered until I got bored with having to rely on other people and started contacting dealers myself.
It’s surprising how quick it is to learn to understand a dealer’s menu on Snapchat. It made me feel so cool and mature to be ordering my own gear. I went through MDMA, ecstasy, coke, ketamine, Xanax, poppers, a bunch of other stuff that I had to google first. I keep a list somewhere that I’m sort of using to check off (but that makes me sound a little obsessed and I promise I’m not!)
How much does all of this cost you?
Before lockdown, when all the clubs were open, it could be upwards of £100-150. Now, I mostly just smoke weed (I get through about 4-5g a week because my tolerance has gone up massively) which makes life a lot cheaper – maybe £40 a week. I don’t do as much as I did before; it’s not the same when you don’t have the club scene there.
I used to blow through my maintenance loan so fast, it was unreal. But my flatmates did too – they spent theirs on clothes and overpriced alcohol at clubs; I spent mine on other things.
Do you think this has affected your health?
I mean, probably. I did get really ill in second term last year because I took a mix of a few things that basically ruined my appetite so I forgot to eat for a good few days. Then I once took ecstasy and drank so much water I was nearly sent to the hospital.
It probably will affect me long term but I just keep thinking – you know, we’ve only got one life and I want to live it. I want to do everything I want to do and see what happens.
SCAN does not endorse any illegal drug use. Substance abuse is a serious mental illness. If you have been affected by anything in this article or think you might suffer from drug addiction, please contact your college wellbeing officer.