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[ Personal Narratives ]

Once Upon a Time – Ethylphenidate Overdose

Whilst theoretically I haven’t overdosed on diamorphine, ethylphenidate, cocaine or ketamine, I have come pretty darn close.

Due to my daily use of ethylphenidate I had several near misses. I call them ‘oh shit’ moments. They generally happen when I’m half way through a shot, the terrifying realisation I’ve done way too much.

I’d then pull the pin out in a panic as my heart began racing so fast Usan Bolt would look slow in comparison.

The scariest times were when I was alone. The realisation death was creeping close to my meer existence.

One of the times I can recall was a sunny late summer, early autumn day. The sun beamed through my bedroom window, whilst the cool breeze wafted in.

My house mate Nigel needed to go out to attend to some business. I had secretly be longing for him to leave, enabling me to indulge in my DOC (Drug Of Choice) alone, free from judgement.

I hurried him out the door, insisting I would be fine, and no sooner as I had closed the door, I leaped and bounded upstairs to my bed side cabinet where my ethylphenidate lay.

I picked up a pink Never Share syringe. At the time I was still purchasing needles from Exchange Supplies website over using exchanges all the time. Never Share are syringes with different brightly coloured plungers enabling you to bag a colour and not worry about sharing in error. Pink for me and green for my friend.

I also ripped a new needle off a strip of 5. They were orange 25g (25 gauge) needles and an inch in length. They are popular for hitting the vein in your groin.

I had started using them due to the sheer damage I had done to my surface veins due to the incredible caustic nature of ethylphenidate. It makes diamorphine cooked with citric seem akin to saline.

Needless to say my surface veins rarely allowed me to flag (draw blood into the syringe), so the bigger needles were needed to hit the deeper veins in my arms and legs.

I eagerly filled the syringe with the white crystals to just over the 1.5ml mark, opened a bottle of mineral water purchased so I could use in McDonald’s toilet previously.

I tilted the bottle and placed the syringe into the bottle neck and drew back water until it was just over the 2.5ml mark.

I knew I was over indulging. I had only received the crystal ethylphenidate that morning. Just like those of you who smoked skunk all the time, it began to lose its potency and switching to Thai weed would get you more intoxicated. I had been purchasing from the legal high shop recently, so knew due to the change in brand, I would definitely be feeling this hit.

As I turned to leave the bedroom I caught sight of me. 7.8lbs (106lbs / 48kgs). A skeleton with a thin layer of grey skin and hollow eyes staired back. I was ugly. But thin!

The crystals began to dissolve but my impatience got the better of me, so after a few shakes, I ripped open the fresh needle and pushed it firmly into the hot pink coloured syringe.

I was using my left arm just down from my elbow on my forearm to bang up. I bounded down stairs turning the syringe up and down, mesmerised as the crystals floated from one end to the other. Like Joey from Friends and the pen that when turned revealed a lady’s boobies.

I entered the kitchen and, no longer requiring a tourniquet due to my experience. I was easily injecting 10-20 times a day using at least 1 gramme and up to 3 grammes, possibly 4.

I inserted the fresh pin, slanted side up, at a 45 degree angle robotically due to my ridiculous usage and tolerance. Once half way in I pulled back on the pink plunger.

A dark scarlet stream rushed into the barrel, spreading in whisps, fading from the deep, dark claret colour to a light brown/purple as it infused with the Ethylphenidate.

I’d flagged. I began to push down on the plunger. Immediately I felt the burn, incredibly painful but I was certainly accustomed and unfazed at the pain. My veins where most likely burning away inside out due to my disgusting habit.

Push, push, push, past the 2ml mark. Push, push, push, to the 1.5ml mark. I could feel the speed surge from my arm, burning as it journeyed through my upper arm and towards my brain. Push, push, push, OH SHIT!

I had only just reached the 1.5ml mark. My eyes widened far wider than normal and my jaw clenched shut, catching some of my cheek in the process.


My heart began to pound so fast, it was almost humming opposed to making separate thumps.

I pulled the needle out placing it, unaware, on the worktop.

Whoooooosh, a torrent of dizziness hit my head, sending my world topsy turvy, causing me to stumble.

I automatically grabbed the worktop to steady my self. The smell of ethylphenidate began to seep from my pores.


‘God no’ I said allowed to God. The infamous black mist encroached my vision creating a view similar to when on TV they showed you the view through binoculars. A heat radiated from below my rib cage spreading in all directions, making me perspire and causing my face to glow like the log fuelled fires of winter.

I caught sight of my gorgeous cat T**** lying in the afternoon sun, on my semi circle seat. Almost aware of my stupidity he glanced over looking directly into my own gaze.

T**** was only 6, but rather skinny due to what I believed was IBS. He was lazy with washing, so I washed him. Baby wiped his face, bottom, cut out poo, powdered him with glittery scented talcum powder, endeavouring to mask his unique smelly cat aroma, cleaned the numerous litter box accidents, put up with his cantankerous nature…

O**** his second cousin/ brother would be rehomed easily, but T****, only I would surely devote the time to care for him. And I didn’t want my boys split.

‘Oh God what have I done?’ Again I spoke aloud.

‘I don’t want to die’

‘Please let me live’

‘I don’t want to die’

‘Please let me live’

‘I don’t want to die’

‘Please let me live’

My life whooshed past my eyes. Riding my bike aged 7, pretending it was a horse. Stuffing dollies under my jumper aged 8 with my friend G**** so we could subsequently pretend to give birth. Being taught simple one hand tunes on my keyboard aged 9.

Sega Mega Drive aged 10, Thorpe Park aged 11, boys in the park and my first kiss 12, drinking 13, weed 14, clubbing 15, McDonald’s and trying a little UK speed (amphetamine not methamphetamine) aged 16.

Ecstasy and my first boyfriend 17, my Mini Mayfair 18, college and A*** 19. Shotting pills and making a wedge, having a catwalk model boyfriend aged 20, change from pills to cocaine along with the love of my life T***** 21.

First education job 22. Cutting down cannabis consumption whilst being featured in two music videos at 23. Parties and TV, Film and modelling work for the local council, Eastenders, Holby, The Last Detective to name a few at 24.

Ayia Napa and the 07/2005 bombings 25, my star speaking part on The Charlotte Church Show, splitting up with my boyfriend and buying my flat 26.

Dating a premiership footballer whilst my cocaine addiction was swapped for crack and heroin 27. Drug addiction and dating a TV presenter aged 28.

Weaning off heroin, being an extra in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus aged 29. Caribbean breaks, trying to stop opiates, being referred to an ADHD specialist aged 30.

Humans Race For Life Advert aged 30 having chosen not to renew my contract with my TV/Film agent due to my new busy job. 

Noisy, soul destroying Polish family of three renting the compact one bed flat meant for 1-2 people above me aged 31. House hunting and finding the house of my dreams 32.

Intravenous drug use, removal from society, my decline. And I was back in the room. It felt like an hour had passed but in reality it was no more than 10 seconds.

My fingers were now white as I was holding on to the side with such force determined not to let myself fall.

I was going to die. Alone. T**** caught my gaze again. Displeased at my recklessness. I can’t die. T**** saved my life. I owe him, I’ve got to be around for him.

‘I want to live God’

People! I needed to be in the view of people. People can save me.

I staggered to the front door stopping to quickly glance at my reflection in the mirror just outside the kitchen.

My complexion had turned from tanned and healthy to tomato red. Due to my use of opiates, which constrict your pupil (make them smaller), I didn’t have massive Deer-About-To-Be-Hit-By-A-Lorry pupils. They were a little larger than average, but the wild, speed addict look didn’t fail to grace me.

I quickly hurried to the front door and opened it an inch while I positioned myself in a stable sitting position. The draft from the shadowy front garden was much cooler and welcomed. It hit my red flushed cheeks like a cool splash of water.

My jaw was clenched unnaturally, as my heart thankfully began to slow.


I breathed deeply

‘Thank you God, thank you. I don’t want to die’

It was weird, unless I almost overdosed, I generally hated life and would answer ‘yes’ if asked do I want to die. When I fucked up with drugs and was knocking on Lucifer’s door, death petrified me.

I gained composure as quickly as I lost it.

This must have happened easily 5 up to 10 times.

I don’t want to die. I just don’t want to live either.

‘Meow, meow, meow’

A soft fur brushed against my leg. Almost as if he knew his cue was required.

I bent down and stroked his plush velvet fur.

‘Come on then’ I said getting up to feed my boy. ‘Thanks’ I murmured. I saved you as the runt no one wanted. You’ve saved me more than I can count.