THE drug ice takes your soul, a former Eurobodalla user says.
“It eats you up and spits you back out and there’s nothing you can do about it,” the Moruya man said.
The 27-year-old courageously and candidly shared the story of his battle with the drug at a community forum last week.
From a broken home, he began smoking ice at just 18 to “take away the pain”.
“I played the best soccer you can play in Australia for my age group before I started it,” he said.
“I was in with the wrong crowd, with much older people – people that don’t care about you.
“They just care about themselves, but at the end of the day they don’t even care about themselves, because you lose all your morals.”
He said that at the time he thought he was “rolling” because he had a pocket full of cash, a pot full of drugs, fancy cars, clothes and necklaces.
“Now I’m 27 and I’ve got nothing,” he said.
He decided to change after seeing how the drug had affected his friends’ lives.
“All my mates were getting their doors kicked in, people were getting stabbed, shot,” he said.
“I’ve had a couple of mates who have passed away because of ice.
“They were in car accidents because they were high on ice, they hadn’t slept for eight or nine days and they were driving recklessly.
“They had kids in the car.”
He said he always knew he was doing the wrong thing, but many users were in denial.
“They think everything’s okay – that’s what ice does to you,” he said.
“They think life’s going all right, but there’s only one way you go on ice and that’s down and backwards.”
He was jailed on driving charges and, while he has not looked back since his release in January last year, he says he has a daily battle not to return to his former life.
“I’m still rehabilitating myself and it’s been 12 months,” he said.
“I’m still struggling.
“You are who you hang around and the majority of my mates get on it.
“I never look down on them.
“I just want to help them, but it’s hard to help when they don’t want to help themselves.
“It’s very sad.”
He said the drug was “an epidemic”.
“It’s a hundred metres up the road, it’s 1km up the road – it’s in Batemans Bay and it’s taken over the whole South Coast,” he said.
“To get off it, you need to hibernate, turn your life upside down, change everything.
“You go two or three weeks without it and then have a blaze (hit) and that’s it, before you know it, you’ve been up for two weeks straight.”
He encouraged parents whose children were affected by the drug to “never give up”.
“If you have kids, grandkids, friends on it, the most important thing is to give them support,” he said.
“As much as you think you’ve lost them, they might snap out of it and you’ll get them back.”