Pubdate: Wed, 18 May 2005
Source: Esquimalt News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 Esquimalt News
Author: Brennan Clarke
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Drug Impacts Friends, Family Says Girlfriend Of Addict

Six months ago, Adrienne thought crystal meth was just another
recreational drug.

Now she sits bleary-eyed on the couch of her apartment in the
Burnside-Tillicum part of town, fighting back tears as she recounts
the pain her boyfriend's addiction to the drug inflicted on her life.

It started around Christmas, she says, after the two had been dating
for a year and a half. Aside from smoking pot, he'd never been a
drug-user. But then an old friend appeared on the scene and everything

"They are having a pretty rough time, he and his girlfriend got their
kids taken away 'cause they got caught selling crystal meth," he told
her when he came home that day.

"Gib," as it's called on the street, is nothing to be concerned about,
he told her.

"It's basically just speed. It's just being made to look really bad in
the media," she recalls him saying. "There is nothing wrong with it.
It's just cold medication that has been refined to get you high. I
tried it. It's fine."

They'd known each other for over 20 years, so she believed him and, at
first, turned a blind eye to the sudden changes in his lifestyle,
temperament and physical appearance.

"At first he was using my car for job-hunting," says Adrienne, a
single mother who attends business college during the day.

"Then he ran into this old friend and he started helping friends run
errands. Then it was friends of these friends. He was always driving
them places.

"He'd leave for a quick errand at five in the evening and come home at
five in the morning."

Adrienne, who doesn't want her last name used for fear of attracting
attention from child protection authorities, admits she tried crystal
meth "three times" over the last six months.

The last time, Adrienne's boyfriend took her to a seedy motel in the
Burnside-Gorge area of town to hang out with a group of "gibbers." The
squalor of their existence opened Adrienne's eyes to the drug's
destructive power.

One of the motel's occupants, a man who reminded her of the Mother
Superior character from the heroin addiction movie Trainspotting,
admitted getting both of his teenaged daughters hooked on crystal meth.

One woman in the motel room hid herself between the mattress and the
wall, only popping up to take her turn on the pipe, "like a

She spoke of her "murdered babies," but later produced pictures of the
children and admitted they'd been taken away by social services. "They
look like you," Adrienne recalls telling her. "The pain in her eyes
was the only emotion I would see in her that day."

The conversation in the room focused on the injustices of society and
how they had been stigmatized as junkies.

"They used the motel bible to find examples of how they are being
wronged and how they, the meek, would inherit the earth," she says
Later that night in the shower, Adrienne realized she had
unconsciously picked a hole in her skin that had turned into oozing,
foul-smelling sores.

"I was bothered. I didn't realize what I'd done. The sores stank, they
smelled so bad," she recalls. "He assured me it was just the gib
making its way out of my system and to leave them alone."

Tired of the drug scene that her boyfriend had introduced into her
life, Adrienne vowed never to do meth again.

Meanwhile, her boyfriend became a completely different person. He
would fly into rages when confronted about his addiction, or break
down in tears when she threatened to end the relationship.

"He went from around 250 pounds to less than 180 in six months," she
said. "This former rugby player and mountain bike enthusiast was
wasting away in front of me."

At the same time, there were signs that he was starting to steal to
support his habit. Items began disappearing from the bike lock-up in
her building's underground parking area. Adrianne's boyfriend started
recognizing names of people cited in TV news reports for meth-related

In April, she found a pellet gun and a balaclava in the trunk of her

The pellet gun was "for fun," he told her, and the balaclava was there
"just in case."

After she confronted him, he stayed away for a week and turned off his
phone to avoid her calls. His meth-addicted friends started calling
Adrienne's place, "desperate to contact him."

Asked if she suspects him of dealing meth, tears well up in Adrienne's
eyes and she shakes her head slowly.

"No, I don't believe it," she says.

The final straw came in late April when he came back to her in tears,
promising to change.

The next morning Adrienne left him sleeping in her bed while she went
off to attend classes. She came home that afternoon to find her
apartment had been looted by her boyfriend and, she suspects, a
meth-addicted friend of his who owns a pick-up truck.

They stole a TV, her dining room table, most of her DVDs, a computer
printer, costume jewelry, jars of change and even her daughter's
commemorative coin set, worth $3.91.

"(The apartment) looked like it had been ransacked," she said. "I just
felt so violated."

Enraged, Adrienne admits going to her boyfriend's house and smashing
the window of his car with a crowbar. Then she called the police to
turn herself in. They deemed the incident a domestic dispute and
declined to intervene.

As for charges against her boyfriend, police informed Adrienne that
she had no legal recourse because she knowingly left the culprit alone
in her apartment.

She told his family about his addiction, and discovered that he had
been stealing from them as well.

She hasn't seen her boyfriend since the crowbar incident, and fears
their next encounter will be at his funeral.

"I know it's only a matter of time before meth kills him, and for that
I have to feel grateful to be rid of him," she said. "I can't stand
the idea of watching him kill himself. It's hard enough knowing and
not being able to stop him."
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