Citation: DocLondon. "Washed Up After Exam On Speed: An Experience with Amphetamines & Ecstasy (exp21887)". Erowid.org. Jan 1, 2006. erowid.org/exp/21887
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I never thought I would end up getting so preoccupied with my drug use but I suppose what I've learnt is worth sharing. I'm supposed to know all about the dangers of drugs as a doctor although I *was* only a med student at the time and a lot more of us get into all sorts of problems that most people realise.
Before I went off to London to start studying I never even gave a thought to turning to drugs (except alcohol) but the expectations on a budding doctor made me see otherwise. I had only just scraped through the first year and by the middle of the second year I was realising that I'd spent too much time messing around and having a laugh and was going to have to do something drastic to avoid being kicked out. I hadn't impressed the Dean with my attendance not with my assignments and I wasn't going to get a second chance after the exams. That drastic thing turned out to be speed. There was a small group who were known to be involved with drugs and I approached them to see what I could do about my little problem. To my delight they were only too willing to pass some Dexedrine onto me (I was unsure about stuffing any old white powders down my throat). I got a strip of 10 tablets and on the Friday afternoon I dropped my first tablet, just as a pre-run to see what it was like. With just a tiny 5 mg dose I already felt sped-up and in the mood to get on with things and talk about just about anything. I went downstairs to the bar and joined a few friends, who strangely said I didn't look in a good mood. That was the weird thing about speed - it kind of puts a straight face on you and makes you all serious but inside you're just tingling with joy. It didn't take me long to discover that stacking a couple of pints of strong lager boosted the euphoric effect and that little trick would become a regular feature of my speed taking.
Speed worked wonders for me in the beginning. In just a couple of weeks I cleared by back-log of assignments and I just couldn't believe how drastically speed turns you from a lazy good-for-nothing into a workaholic. My grades for the year shot up by the end of April and I was already learning so much from the extra time I was spending on my assignments. I knew I was going to take speed to study for my exams and probably was going to be loaded walking in to the exam hall. My days were pretty much normal in the beginning and I was in the habit of dropping 20 mg (4 tablets) after coming back to my room and working until 3 or 4 am. There was a non-stop supply of Dex which was cool since I would be broken for the exams without it. Apparently these guys could order the tablets in from a friendly pharmacy in Eastern Europe, or at least that's what I was being told. I was paying 50 pounds for 100 mg (20 tablets), which sounds a lot but the pharmacologically pure stuff is way stronger that the 5% pure powder you get on the streets and 100 mg was good for around 5 decent hits. It was about after 2 months that my usage was escalating worryingly and I was using about 3 times a week. Unfortunately, I began to slip into using speed in normal situations like going to classes and just to go and have a drink. In the beginning I only used it strictly for studying. I would take 20/30 mg or so and then just bum around and not get any work done. That was really the turning point for me because I knew I was addicted and that I was going to risk ending the year a failed drug addict.
Once we had study leave in May I was taking speed all the time and people began to notice my reckless lifestyle emerging. I would stay up late most nights and be one of the last people leaving the bar. I was always getting up late and had to suffer the depressingness of watching all the other students carefully working and preparing their nice little lunches and chatting with each other about how much they knew. They would just look at me and laugh at the dark circles under my eyes and as I came in with a 'breakfast' of 2 big-Macs at 2 in the afternoon. I had friends but no-one to confide in about my drug use. The time between hits was always horrible - I never really felt depressed like some people say, but just really really vacant and unable to concentrate or do anything. I was getting about one hour study a night, if that, and was always too temped to go and join whoever was at the bar.
I remember clearly 2 days before the first exam panic set in and I designed a crash course of revision to get me through the exam. At least speed *had* giving me a chance in that year from my improved assignment grades but I still had some way to go. I took 40 mg on that first Sunday evening and managed to settle into some study. I worked unflaggingly through to the small hours and then took another 20 mg. That was a huge mistake. I'd started a 'speed-run' that I would be unable to stop until after the actual exam. I was unable to focus on the Monday and I was feeling awake but very weird - kind of achy and disorientated. I tried to force myself to sleep to be rested before the exam on the Tuesday but it was no use. I knew I had to cram before the exam and I realised I was going to be staying up all night again. I managed to fight the temptation to take more speed until the evening. I had no hunger and was drinking only water which was havoc for my stomach and I started to feel quite ill. I hadn't eaten since Sunday afternoon so I forced myself to eat something. I stole a ham/salad sandwich from someone else's fridge but could only eat half. Then I tried to eat a yoghurt which was a mistake because the acid made be throw up everything I'd just eaten. At about 8 or 9pm I took 40 mg and tried to study but I couldn't. Then I made another stupid mistake about an hour or 2 later when I took my last 20 mg as a 'booster', which I was supposed to save for the exam. The effect of the 40 mg hadn't fully come on so on 60 mg I was absolutely flying by 11pm. I was so high and I just had such strange feelings all the time. One minute I knew what was going on and I could take in the facts and the next minute I was fantasising about starting my own business or going on TV and becoming an entertainer. It was so weird. I felt confident at some times and at other times I thought I was going to fail but I didn't care. I went through this strange dream-state until the early hours and at about 2am when I decided I should go out and hunt some more speed. I wend down to levels to my dealer on what was popularly known as 'the drug level' because it always smelt of hash (how they got away with it I don't know). The door was open and they were semi-comatose listening to trance music. I woke up my dealer and asked him for some more speed but he said it didn't always just have it and he couldn't get any until the day. I said I really needed it and then he told me that he still had 2 MDMA pills and that they would also keep me up with a bit of an extra euphoria boost. I took him up on the offer and paid 20 pounds for two pills and went upstairs to my room. I was wondering when it would be best to drop a pill and decided that right now was as good a time as any. Big mistake. I was already so full of stimulants and in retrospect any normal person would have known it was a stupid thing to do. After about an hour I began to feel a fresh sense wash over me and I thought I had done the right thing taking the E. It was my first time on it and the novelty of the experience made it so intense. It was a king of 'false euphoria' very strange and hard to describe but a mixture of feeling good and feeling like my body was going to totally disintegrate from abuse. I lay on my bed staring at the ceiling and taking time out from the pressures of med school to just 'be'. I decided I didn't care what happened now and after this experience I was going to knock drugs on the head and go straight.
I could already hear some of the 'normal' students getting up at about 6am and having their healthy breakfasts and chatting. I was able to eat an apple and a banana (that I stole). I made my own way to the exam, wishing to be away from others while totally off my head. I arrived and the first greeting I received outside the exam hall was 'guess who stayed up all night' from a girl in my class. The others were quick to notice that something had taken its toll on by body and it started to get annoying when someone pointed at my face and commented on ďthe dark circles from hellĒ. It was only about 8am and I had to stand around for about 30 min before being allowed in. It was about 4 hours after I dropped the E and I was well messed up. By the time I sat down and the exam started and I surprised myself by getting into focus and I did work through it and thought I had managed to answer quite a few questions well. It was anatomy, so not too intellectual and just required remembering a lot of names and writing about how all the bits are linked together. After three hours I felt the first glimpses of tiredness but I did join the other to the bar.
Two strong lagers put me out and I think I slept from about 2 or 3 pm right through to 3 or 4 in the early hours of the next morning. I awoke feeling totally exhausted and the next exam was only another three days away on the Friday. I thought there was no way I was going to make it and I just concentrated on trying to make myself feel normal again. I got cosy in my bed and just watched TV and ate and slept. My friends got worried about me and the realised that I wasn't going to make it through the year and I just told them I was feeling really ill. Then they started fussing about seeing a doctor and it was so annoying having to get them off my back. On the Thursday I really did start to feel ill - with depression and fatigue. I was so nonchalant about everything and I didn't care if I lived or died. I had the thought going through my head that I should kill myself although I didn't really feel suicidal - it was weird. By the Friday I was so depressed and anxious about being depressed. I was so worried that I might have done lasting damage to myself that I called home and told my mom that I was feeling seriously unwell and needed to come home. She booked flights immediately and I dragged myself to the airport on Sunday without any luggage and just went home. I was only going to be staying one week but when my mom took one look at me she encouraged me to stay longer. I didnít go to any of the other exams and I didnít return to campus until October. It took a lot of encouragement from my family to prevent be from just giving up all together. I think it took me months to fully recover from the depression which was caused by both the drugs and also having to redefine who I was. I repeated that year and fought the temptation to use speed. The fact the that the dealer I knew had moved on really helped. That year I repeated was the toughest year on my life but I eventually got through it and now I look back on the whole thing and realise how much Iíve changed for the better.
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