by Evelin Hosszu (age 16, Navan, Co Meath)
You have the right to protection from harmful drugs and from the drug trade.
One night you’re in the city, partying with your buddies, drinking, dancing, being dumb. You don’t care about anything outside you, anything outside your world. You are loving the night. But in that night your world turns upside down. When you wake up your memory is hazy. But I’m jumping too far ahead. Let’s take it back.
My name is Milla. I am 23 now. Usual story, usual stuff, hated school, hated my parents. I resisted everyone and everything. I spoke so roughly to my parents. The hardest thing to think about now, how I would attack them with my words. I would toss words out like my school books. They didn’t matter. I got mixed up with a gang who were much older. I felt privileged that they wanted me. I would have done anything to be accepted. Maybe it would have been okay if I could see where this privilege would lead. But I couldn’t.
Our leader Igor was tall, muscular, a scar-faced boy like a member of the Russian mafia from old black-and-white movies. He was fully aware that I was not yet 18, he thought the police would go easy on a minor, worst case scenario. But I’m jumping too far ahead again. Afterwards, it is easy to be smart and see your mistakes, but then I could not think with a clear head. Igor knew it very well, he used my stupid self.
Back to that night. A campfire burned at the back of the house. I thought they were toasting marshmallows. Melaka had an iron bar in the fire – when I got closer it had a circle at the end, no marshmallows here. Igor glanced at me. “To be with us, you have to defend us, you have to show your loyalty. We are a family,” he said. He spoke with a passion and humility that swept me off my feet. The fire sparkled and jumped.
I’m glad I didn’t know what was coming next. Melaka lifted the hot iron rod in his hand. He was right up beside me before I knew what was happening. I tried to run, but they grabbed me. They pulled down one side of my jeans. I cried and begged. “Do not do it. I want to go home.” I turned into a mad bitch and kicked and yelled at all of them. My tears ran into the chaos and shouting. I slowly inhaled but felt like suffocating. It did not affect them. They twisted and stretched my limbs to the ground. I had no power. And then Melaka pressed the hot iron on my hip with a mocking smile. I had never felt pain like this. My skin burnt alive. I felt such hatred at everyone and nothing. I did not want to die, but I was half dead already. When it was over I lay down, coughed and cried. Igor leaned over me. I was branded.
Two guys planted pills in my mouth. I did not know what they were, but I swallowed. They dragged me back into the house. There was so much food, drink, an immense amount of drugs. Melaka injected himself beside me, took a tablet and drank some whiskey. So many faces were dusted with white powders. I’d only heard of flakka before that night. Melaka told me to snort, that it would make the pain go away. Within seconds I did not feel the pain, I felt free, honest and happy. They call it the zombie drug. The last thing I remember was the blow in my head as I inhaled more Flakka. It removed all the little hidden clutches in my body, began to take control of me. I did not protest any of it, because it was good, it was relief. Then nothing, nothing, blackness of imagination.
So that was where it started. That was my introduction to drugs. When I woke up that morning I had been stolen. They had put me on a truck and transported me to Russia. Now I know Igor was working for a Russian drug dealer and looking for dealers he could control. He chose me. My mother was Russian. I spoke the language. I could not go home now anyway. I didn’t even want to go home. I could not stand in front of my mother. Drugs took the place of my family. I loved trying out the new stuff. I could not exist without drugs anymore. They had become my life.
And I spread it. Yes, to kids younger than me. They just felt like I did. Like they needed something. In a weird way I thought I was doing right by them. They wanted to do it, and they seemed happy too. But there was only so long I could fool myself.
Up to a point in time I’d never seen the consequences for anyone else but myself. I was just a messenger and taking drugs was a lottery. There was a new one, Krokodil. Within a week everyone wanted it. I sold it to all the local kids. It didn’t take long to see the results. It was worse than Flakka. It was worse than heroin. It devoured their flesh like a crocodile rips meat from a bone. It was the toughest drug in the world. I saw terrible things because of Krokodil. Kids shouting, screaming in pain, limbs blistered, fevers, pain. I became cautious in the neighbourhood. People realised how many were dying because of what I was selling. I began to dare to admit it to myself. Finally, some of the locals dragged me to the police.
It has been five years. I tell you my story from my jail cell, no longer addicted but fighting every day. My story, I share with everyone to serve as a testimony.
You have the right to protection from harmful drugs and from the drug trade