Pubdate: Wed, 17 Nov 2004
Source: Duncan News Leader (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 Duncan News Leader
Author: Peter Rusland
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Ecstasy)
Bookmark: (Youth)


The drugs may have changed but the message is the same: dope can ruin your 
life and your mind.

That advice will be mainly applied to the rave drug crystal meth during 
this weekend's Cowichan Theatre improv play Crystal Diagnosis.

"Our lesson is you should deal with life instead of throwing things into 
drugs," says Malaspina College education student Sarah Van Egmond, 19.

Diagnosis explores a year in the troubled life of Julie played by Van Egmond.

She's among 10 locals being led by director/narrator Steve Noble.

The idea for Diagnosis came from some actors in his 2003 hit play Shaken, 
Not Disturbed who are in the Open Door mental health program after dope use 
as high school students.

"They said people aren't aware of links between drugs and mental health but 
felt we couldn't do the play without input from youths," says Noble.

Five youths answered calls to help stage Diagnosis probing abuse of 
alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes and especially crystal meth.

"Two thirds of ecstasy in rave clubs is laced with crystal meth," warns 
Noble, "and up to 90 per cent who try it once can be addicted and there's 
no therapy to get them off; cold turkey's the only way."

His gritty script - partly based on interviews with 12 drug users - 
includes crowd interaction and discussion.

Skye Augustine, 15, says Diagnosis is youths approaching youths.

"High school can be so hard because there's so much pressure to go with the 
flow and be stereotyped and not be an individual. Noble hopes to tour 
Diagnosis in schools and has invited senior staff and parents to view it.

"It would be cool if we touch just one person's life and help them get out 
off drugs," said Augustine.
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