[Trigger Warning: drugs and addiction]
On Tuesday night, Three aired 'Patrick Gower on P', watched by over half a million Kiwis in one of the biggest TV audiences in NZ this year. I love Paddy Gower and I think he's an amazing journalist, but there's a side his documentary didn't touch on. This is my open letter on the truth about P:
After watching Paddy Gower on P last night, I felt quite frustrated. I think he almost glamourized P, making people realise how profitable it is and how many people get away with importing it or selling it.
There wasn’t really much about how it really affects people. He talked to a Scientist who showed what it does to the brain, but he never really touched on the true horror of the drug. What it really does to the people who get addicted and the people close to them. He talked to one woman who started taking it because she was a victim of domestic violence. She lost her kids because of it. But then she had the full support of her family to get clean.
What he didn’t touch on, is the TRUTH.
From my personal experience, and I have seen it and felt the wrath of it, P destroys people. Firstly, it destroys the addict. This person becomes irrational, emotionless, void of any kind of compassion or sense, defiant, unreasonable, sometimes violent and angry. They need the drug so badly, they will do anything to get it, including steal from the people closest to them and even those they don’t know, and they don’t care about who they hurt on the way.
They blame everyone else for their problems, as if they didn’t have a choice but to take the drug. They lie and deceive just to get what they need, and they are extremely difficult to reason with or even calm down once in an agitated state.
Close friends and family want to help. They try to help. But they are used, abused, disrespected, threatened, and sometimes even physically and definitely emotionally hurt. Traumatised.
The only way an addict will get better is if THEY actually want to. Not if YOU want them to. And a lot of them are happy with the way it is because it is just too hard to quit. So, they push people away, and their family and friends will often give up on them because they can’t handle the crap thrown at them anymore.
In my personal experience, my life was threatened by an extremely unhinged addict, it terrified me so much, so I went to the police and I could hardly speak. They couldn’t do anything unless the perpetrator did something first. A verbal, angry tirade with explicit details about how the violence would go down, is not enough to get a protection order.
So the family tries to distance themselves, which we did. And the addict suddenly becomes the victim. “You don’t care about me”. “You don’t do nothing for me” “you think you’re so successful and better than me” to “I hate you” “I’m going to kill you” etc etc.
So, I disagree with the conclusion of Paddy’s documentary. Yes, we need to treat addicts as mental health patients and have the services to help them, but it’s not always going to have a fairytale ending where the addict is sober and everyone loves each other again like he portrayed on his show.
I think the best we can do is educate from a young age about the real dangers of this drug. None of this candy-floss crap that no one can relate to. Show people the true destruction of the person who uses P and the damage it does to every good person around them.
Prevention is our best chance because those who are already on it, can often be too hard to bring back.