Many people are of the opinion that cannabis should be legalised because it is a naturally occurring substance that they, therefore, assume to be harmless. While there is no doubting that cannabis is less harmful than Class A illegal drugs such as heroin or cocaine, it is still an addictive substance and once that can have an adverse impact on the lives of those who abuse it.
Aaron Kinney knows better than most the impact that cannabis can have. Now sixteen, Aaron began smoking cannabis when he was just twelve years old; he said that it got to the stage where he was too paranoid to set foot outside his front door.
Aaron has now joined a campaign against drugs and is hoping that he can encourage other teenagers to steer clear of these substances. He has joined the charity Fixers and has taken part in their film, which aims to highlight the effects that drugs can have.
Aaron stated he initially started smoking cannabis recreationally. However, when his uncle died, he said that he felt as though he could not cope and began smoking more cannabis. Aaron’s uncle died as a result of heroin, and he said, “We were really close, and I was devastated. Because I was so young, I didn’t know about his addiction. I only found out a few years later when I started asking questions. It was hard to deal with.”
Aaron was traumatised by the death of his uncle and said that he had nobody to talk to. He started smoking more cannabis to cope with his depression, but he said that this continued to get worse as he got older. Aaron then found that he needed to smoke more of the drug in order to achieve the desired effect. He went on to say, “It got to a point where I would be smoking 15 joints every day around the age of 15. I felt my mind slipping away from me. I never wanted to go out because I was feeling so anxious and paranoid all the time. I just wanted to stay in and smoke, and I would spend weeks at a time indoors.”
The more cannabis Aaron smoked, the more money he needed to pay for the drug. He said that he never had any cash because everything he had went on drugs. When he ran out of money, he would steal from his mother; Aaron also said that he was “doing other things I’m not proud of”.
He added, ‘I fell out with my family because of the things I was doing, and I was failing at school. I didn’t like who I was anymore.’
Thankfully for Aaron, however, he managed to turn his life around. After getting into trouble with the police at the age of fifteen, he was taken to see a doctor before being referred for counselling. He said he used an addiction self-help service to overcome his illness and that he can now see the positive differences in his life.
Aaron stated that ‘I’m a lot happier now. I’ve got new friends now who don’t smoke or do drugs, and I’m dealing with my issues.’
He has enrolled in a hairdressing course, which will start in 2017 and he now has a positive future.
Aaron is proof that addiction can happen to anyone, regardless of their age. He is also proof that cannabis addiction does exist. The good news is that anyone can recover from addiction with the right help and support.
It is never easy reaching out for assistance, but once you do, you can start to make positive changes in your life and can start looking forward to the future once more.
Source: Ballymena teen who â€˜smoked 15 cannabis joints a dayâ€™ in campaign against drugs (Belfast Telegraph)