Confessions of a Teenage Drug Addict > Coming face-to-face with drugs

You are about to read the first of ten harrowing interviews with a young Thai drug addict. What makes this account so fascinating is that the whole story was played out live on the internet. Thousands of people from around the world visited the web site between April and November 2001. This first interview was meant to be a one-off to show the situation of drugs in a Thai school. At that time, young Gor had only just started experimenting with drugs and he was determined that he would never become a drug addict. What happened next took everyone by surprise and brought tears to the eyes of many of his regular visitors.

"I shouldn't have tried it. Even one time. Just that one time changed everything. I used to be in the top class. My grades were always 3.5 and higher. But, after I started taking drugs, I missed school a lot and got into trouble with my teachers and the police. I also started stealing money. I have never thought about that kind of thing before. Even when I didn't have money I never stole. This now makes me embarrassed and ashamed." - Gor, November 2001

DATE: April 2001

QUESTION: We are going to talk about drugs today. What is the story about drugs at your school? When did you first see it?

GOR: Since Mattayom 1 (Grade 7), when I went to the toilet behind Building 5. I could smell something like chocolate. Now I know it was a drug, a pill called ya ba in Thai.

QUESTION: When did you find out what it was?

GOR: From my friend when I was in Mattayom 2. I asked him for it and he said no.

QUESTION: Your friends took drugs?

GOR: Yes, they took it in the toilet at school.

QUESTION: From your class?

GOR: No a different class. I have lots of friends. But they are in my year.

QUESTION: How many people taking drugs in your school?

GOR: A lot. Every day.

QUESTION: Would you say there is a drug problem at your school?

GOR: Yeah, the teachers don't really know about it. Even if they know they are not that interested.


GOR: I don't know.

QUESTION: You are in the top class. How many kids in your class take drugs?

GOR: None.

QUESTION: How many kids in your year?

GOR: Quite a lot. More than fifty. They do drugs or smoke in the toilets every day. I smoke in the toilets too.

QUESTION: When did you start smoking?

GOR: I started smoking in Mattayom 3. I think.

QUESTION: When do you smoke at school?

GOR: Lunch time, morning and after school.

QUESTION: Is their a favourite place where students smoke?

GOR: Yeah, the teachers don't really go there. It is the boy's toilet behind building 5. At the back of the school.

QUESTION: How many people would be smoking in there at lunch time?

GOR: For my group there will be 3 or 4. I do not smoke alone.

QUESTION: Are there other people there smoking at the same time?

GOR: Yeah, sometimes we didn't bring cigarettes to school so we just asked them for one. On average there is always five or six people smoking in there at lunchtime.

QUESTION: Do they smoke in there at other times?

GOR: Yeah, during lessons. They didn't go to class.

QUESTION: How come the teachers don't know there are students smoking inside the toilet?

GOR: You won't know from outside and anyway, people only go there to go to the toilet.

QUESTION: Have you ever smoked in other places in the school?

GOR: Yes, on the balcony on the third floor outside my classroom.

QUESTION: Who with?

GOR: Me and my friends from other classes.


GOR: At lunch time.

QUESTION: How often do you do that?

GOR: Lots of times. I can't remember. I used to do it nearly everyday.

QUESTION: Are you saying that no teacher can see you smoke there? That is hard to believe.

GOR: There are no teachers in the building at lunchtime. They won't come up. I don't know why.

QUESTION: There are other students there. Why don't they tell the teachers?

GOR: They won't because they all know me and are friends. Anyway, if they tell they know what they are going to get.


GOR: What do you think?

QUESTION: I don't know. You tell me?

GOR: For sure a black eye. Maybe more than that.

QUESTION: When you are smoking on the balcony are you being careful?

GOR: No-one can see if they don't come up. Anyway, my friends who don't smoke are on lookout.

QUESTION: Why did you first start smoking outside the classroom?

GOR: It wasn't my idea. I saw people from other classes do it. So, I wanted to try.

QUESTION: OK, let's get back to the subject of drugs at school. You said you were in Mattayom 2 when you first learned about drugs. Was this the first time someone offered you drugs?

GOR: Yes.


GOR: In the same toilets.

QUESTION: Tell me about that day.

GOR: They were in one of the cubicles in the toilets. I went there at lunchtime to go to the toilet. I could smell what they were doing so I knocked on the day. My friend asked "Who is there?" I said it is me. They said "Who is me?" I replied "it is your father!" They then opened the door and I asked what are you doing? Then I saw they were taking drugs.

QUESTION: What drugs were they taking?

GOR: It is a pill. In Thai we call it Ya Ba. In English it means "crazy medicine".

QUESTION: How were they taking this pill?

GOR: They used some silver foil. They made it into a shape like a boat. They put the pills in then they used a lighter to heat it from underneath. When the pills were hot, smoke comes out of it. They then breathe the smoke.

QUESTION: How did they inhale the smoke?

GOR: They used a straw. Not a normal one. They rolled up a piece of paper.

QUESTION: How many of them were taking this drug and how many pills did they use?

GOR: There were three of my friends but they only used one pill. It is expensive.

QUESTION: What did they say to you?

GOR: They asked me if I want some. I said no, I am not going to take drugs.


GOR: I don't know. I think because I saw the news and I could see people getting crazy about taking drugs.

QUESTION: And you believed it?

GOR: Yes.

QUESTION: A lot of people first take drugs when they are with their friends. They feel if they want to be part of that group then they have to do the same as their friends.

GOR: I want to be part of the group but I still said no to drugs. If they try to give drugs to me that means they are not a good friend because drugs are not a good thing.

QUESTION: Can we move on to the subject of selling drugs at school. How much do these pills cost?

GOR: I don't know, it depends. In school they sell it for 70-80 per pill (less than $2).

QUESTION: Do you know anyone who sells drugs?

GOR: I have got a close friend who used to sell drugs. But now he has quit.


GOR: Because I told him to stop.

QUESTION: Why did he sell drugs? Did he need the money?

GOR: No. Maybe he thought it was fun. Exciting. Maybe.

QUESTION: Where did he get the drugs from?

GOR: A friend of a friend.

QUESTION: How much did he buy the drugs for?

GOR: I think he bought it for 50 baht each and he sold it for 70 or 80 baht.

QUESTION: Who was he selling to?

GOR: Students at school.

QUESTION: How did he go about selling them?

GOR: He only sold to people he knew were on drugs already. He went up to them and said "Do you want some drugs?"

QUESTION: How many drugs was he carrying around at one time?

GOR: In the morning he would carry 10.

QUESTION: When did he pick up his supply of drugs?

GOR: In the afternoon after school. He took it home with him and brought it to school the next day.

QUESTION: Are you sure he carried no more than 10?

GOR: Yes.

QUESTION: I think there is a law that if you carry more than 25 and you are stopped by the police you will be arrested for selling drugs and could get life or even death. Did you know that?

GOR: No, but I knew there was a risk. If you sell it and someone found out you would go to prison for sure. If a teacher found out you were selling drugs you might get fired from school.

QUESTION: Do you know more about the risks now than before?

GOR: Yes.

QUESTION: How many people would you say are selling drugs in your school?

GOR: I don't know. I can't count.

QUESTION: How easy is it to get drugs?

GOR: You can get drugs easily. Just tell someone who takes drugs and they will get it for you. If you got money.

QUESTION: Are all the students taking drugs also selling them?

GOR: No.

QUESTION: Why? Don't they need the money to pay for drugs themselves?

GOR: If they take drugs and also try to sell it, they won't be able to sell for sure. They will just take all the drugs for themselves.

QUESTION: Some people sell drugs but they don't take it themselves. Do you know people like that?

GOR: Yes, I know someone. He doesn't do it for the money. Just for fun maybe.

QUESTION: Where does he get the drugs from?

GOR: From around his house.

QUESTION: Where does he sell?

GOR: Usually at school but sometimes outside. But outside school he doesn't sell it himself. He gives it to other people to sell for him.

QUESTION: What does he do with the money?

GOR: He uses it. He likes motorbikes so he spends money on that.

QUESTION: Did your other friend do it for the money?

GOR: No, for fun.

QUESTION: How did you get your other friend to stop selling drugs?

GOR: I said "stop" and he stopped. If he didn't he knew I would show him my knuckles.

QUESTION: Have you ever tried drugs?

GOR: Yes.

QUESTION: Can you tell me about that?

GOR: I was in Mattayom 3 and some friends came to my house. They went up to my bedroom to take drugs while I was on the telephone.

QUESTION: Weren't your parents at home?

GOR: No, they were at work. This was summer holidays.

QUESTION: Do your friends take drugs often? Are they drug addicts?

GOR: Not really. If they have money they will. If they don't then they won't. They won't steal money to pay for drugs. They are not that kind of people. If they don't have money they can always share the pill with their friends. They do this about 2 or 3 times a week.

QUESTION: If there are 3 or 4 of them sharing one pill, is that enough for them to get high?

GOR: Not really.

QUESTION: What is the most they take?

GOR: One of my friends took three.

QUESTION: OK. Can you continue with the story about your first time?

GOR: When I saw them taking drugs, I felt like I wanted to try. To see what it is like. I felt the same when I first started to smoke. It is a new thing. So I asked them If I could try it. At first they didn't let me. I said that if they wouldn't give it to me then I would go and buy it myself. So, they had no choice. If I went out and buy it myself it is more dangerous.

QUESTION: Why do you say it is dangerous?

GOR: Because I don't know who to ask in the streets. I might ask the wrong person. There are police around.

QUESTION: How many pills did they have?

GOR: They had two pills for the three of them. It was my first time so I only inhaled two times. They told me to do it like smoking but breath in more. Then hold it before breathing out.

QUESTION: How did you feel?

GOR: It was like smoking. Only the taste was different. It was more difficult to do than smoking because you need the silver foil and the straw.

QUESTION: Did you get high?

GOR: No, I felt normal. Maybe because I only took a little.

QUESTION: At the end of that day, were you planning to do it again?

GOR: No.

QUESTION: So, did you try again?

GOR: Yes.

QUESTION: How long after?

GOR: About a week.

QUESTION: Where this time?

GOR: At home with my friends.

QUESTION: Do they come to your house often to take drugs?

GOR: No. They come to visit me often during the holiday. They don't always take drugs. We play cards, listen to tv, watch porno videos etc.

QUESTION: Can you continue with the drug story?

GOR: OK. I went up to my bedroom where they were taking drugs. I said give some to me and they said "again?" I said you can take it why can't I? So they let me.

QUESTION: How many pills this time?

GOR: There were three pills. But we didn't take them all in one go. But, I inhaled more times this time.

QUESTION: Did it have a different affect on you?

GOR: I felt high. I didn't even feel sleepy. We played cards all night.

QUESTION: So, this time your parents were at home?

GOR: We waited until they had gone to bed before we started.

QUESTION: Couldn't they smell it from outside?

GOR: No and anyway I sprayed everywhere afterwards.

QUESTION: In the morning, how did you feel?

GOR: I felt bad. I had a stomach ache.

QUESTION: You said before you weren't planning to take drugs again. What do you say this time?

GOR: I won't buy it myself. I'll only take it if my friends have it.

QUESTION: But, you said your friends are there every day during the holidays and that they take drugs 2-3 times a week. Does that mean you will take drugs now 2-3 times a week?

GOR: No. Only if I feel like it.

QUESTION: How many times have you taken drugs so far?

GOR: Only two times.

QUESTION: How long ago was the last time you took drugs?

GOR: Only 3 or 4 days ago.

QUESTION: Do you think you can stop taking drugs?

GOR: Yes.

QUESTION: Are you in control?

GOR: Yes.

QUESTION: Do you think you will ever go onto harder drugs if you get bored with ya ba?

GOR: No. I am just doing it now because I want to be bad. I have already promised my parents and friends that when I get to Mattayom 4 (Grade 10) I will stop smoking and everything.

QUESTION: But you start Mattayom 4 next month?

GOR: Yep.

QUESTION: Are you sure you can stop smoking and taking drugs if your friends keep taking them?

GOR: Yes, for sure.

QUESTION: OK. Thanks for talking with me today. We will talk again in a few months to see what happened.

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