YOUNG PEOPLE WHO INJECT DRUGS. Personal stories, lived experiences . WHY DO YOUNG PEOPLE USE DRUGS??.
Personal stories, lived experiences
‘I started using heroin when I was 11. I always hung out with older guys in the neighbourhood, and when they started (heroin) I thought I would too. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into but to be honest at that time I didn’t really care.’
‘My name is Renata. I grew up in a family full of love and attention, was the favorite kid in the school, had a lot of friends, but like with many people love crept up to me accidentally. At 15 years, I met a guy who I was madly in love with and why madly, because I did not notice anything around, I did not notice the most important thing, my beloved person used drugs. And who suggested that I try drugs? - It was him, that's how we started shooting up together.’
‘ I am 17 years old and have been injecting since I was 14 years old. From morning to night, I am constantly trying to get enough money for my daily dose through casual work or stealing, and often have to escape from the police.I usually inject Brown Sugar but sometimes also psychotropic substances too if I can afford them. My constant need for money to buy my daily dose means I sometimes wander on the streets from early morning until 2-3 the next morning….when I do not have enough money for this,I transport and deal drugs for adults, begging foradaily dose in exchange for the services.’
‘The guys (who I inject with) are my brothers really, my family. I stopped talking to my real family a long time ago and I have been on the streets since I was 12…. we look after each other.’
‘Today , I realized that it was not the drugs that was harming badly my different sphere of life such as health, education, relationship ... but the illicit nature of it made it worse. I started experimenting illicit drugs before I turned 18. It was only possible for me due to the illicit nature of it. I got expelled from a school and often got harassment from police.’
‘For the young women we work with, our issues are with the law-enforcement authorities, with the police. The police can detain you straight away, even put you into prison without a reason, they can even plant heroin on you. So, we need to focus on changing the attitudes of the law-enforcement authorities [towards young people who use drugs].’
‘I was detained for having track marks on my arm. Whilst I was detained, I was forced to have sex with multiple men. I had to agree. It was only after I was released that I found out they cannot detain me for track marks’.
ME: ‘So, I see that you do not allow young people under the age of 18 to access the service. So where do they go to get clean needles?’
SP: (shrugs shoulders) ‘I don’t know’.
ME: ‘So there is no other service that will see them?’
SP: ‘No. Actually if they come here we are obliged to report them’.
Conversation with harm reduction service
provider in Czech Republic
‘When I find a pharmacy or other adults that accept to sell me syringes,I buy them at Rs. 25 a unit. It’s been 3 months I have been using the same syringe, and I use hot water to disinfect it. The syringe I use is now so worn out thatI cut off the tip to be able to inject with it-’
Young man talking about harm reduction services in Canada.
‘In Vietnam, you have to be in an 06 centre a couple of times before you can get on methadone. I’ve been in there once actually, but I am using again’
‘We want young people to know what harm reduction is; young girls know very little about harm reduction because no one works with them. I want young women to know about their HIV status and to know their rights. I want them to be able to live like anyone else, entitled to their human rights’
Natasha, 19, Kyrgyzstan
‘As a young woman, the worst thing about going to a pharmacy go get a needle is the reaction from the pharmacist. That look of disgust. It is so degrading. I wish we had a safe place to go to get needles’