"Fast becoming cult reading all over the world." - The Daily Mirror, UK

QUESTION: Did you see that picture in the paper today of a man on drugs that was holding a woman hostage with a knife around her neck?

GOR: Yes. It makes me scared. Scared that I might be like him. I don't want to be like that. I think it is possible if I keep taking drugs. That is why I want to stop. Sometimes I watched the anti-drug adverts with my family. I felt uncomfortable and embarrassed. If I become like that man in the newspaper what are my parents going to say?

My Story
Your Stories

"I want every parent in the world to know and understand teenagers. If I can only stop one child taking drugs or help a parent to understand their child on drugs, I would be happy." - Gor (former drug addict)

What you are about to read is a harrowing but true story of drug addiction. It is a story that has never publicly been told in Thailand before. Drugs is a taboo subject and many teachers say that things like this never happen at their school. But it does. Only young Gor (his real name) has been brave enough to stand up and say "I am a drug addict. I have a problem. Please help me." Despite the hundreds of letters of support he has received from teachers, parents and teenagers from around the world there are many in Thailand that believe that this is a story that shouldn't be told. The sad fact is, the drug problem in schools cannot be solved until people first admit that there is a problem.

Interview Part 1: English

Thai police prepare to destroy confiscated drugs during an event in conjunction with world's anti-drugs day. About 4,300 kilograms of narcotics, mainly heroin, opium and amphetamines were destroyed by the ministry of public health. REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang

"I am a teacher of high school students. Many thanks for being so honest in your fight against drug addiction. I have printed out your interviews and will make it compulsory reading for my students."

"I mostly just smoke marijuana, but I have tried many other drugs. There is a lot of amphetamine in my town, and I have many friends who are addicted, and I've watched them do it many times, but I've always been too scared to try it, and I never will, especially now after reading your diary. So I have you to thank."

"I have found that it was so scary and interesting. I am doing a presentation in my career and life managment class about your story."

more...


INTERVIEWS: This series of ten interviews were conducted at Gor's old primary school between April and November 2001.

Teachers can download a rich text format version of all the interviews for free. This can be used in the classroom. Right click on the link and choose "save target as". If you are using these interviews, please let us know.

Drug Interviews: One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten

LATEST NEWS: Six months later, it looked like Gor was fully on the road to recovery. At the end of the year he had landed himself a job as a columnist at the Bangkok Post. However, his quick recovery was deceiving. The drugs had affected him more than we had first realized. Over the following four years he relapsed back onto drugs half a dozen times. Finally, in 2005, he was arrested by the police for drug possession. In August 2006, the court sentenced him to six years in prison. This was then reduced to three years because he pleaded guilty. Visit ThaiPrisonLife.com to find out the latest news.

Inept anti-drug media campaigns

Many public relations and advertising campaigns have been borrowed from the US, translated into Thai with little or no attempt to adjust them to the Thai context, and then launched with high-budget media blitzes.... [more]

Nearly 3 million drug addicts

The following survey was conducted between June and September 2001 by 20,000 health officials, who visited all 70,000 villages in the country. It was the most intensive study of the drug problem undertaken to date.

Thailand has almost 2.6 million drug abusers aged five to 68, including 2.4 million methamphetamine users, according to an official health survey.

Particularly worrisome was a finding that 4 per cent of five-to-nine-year olds have already started to experiment with the consumption and sale of methamphetamine pills, or ya ba, the report said.

Of the total number of abusers, 890,530 were found to be drug addicts, 821,963 of whom were addicted to methamphetamine, 26,656 to marijuana, 19,074 to heroin, 6,593 to glue-sniffing and 5,977 to the stimulant plant krathom.

The Northeast has the highest number of substance abusers with 797,297, followed by 477,270 in the South, 413,954 in the central region, and 399,671 in the North.

In Bangkok, there are 566,163 drug abusers, most of whom are methamphetamine users.

The highest number of drug addicts are in the 15 to 24 age group, though those using opiates are mostly aged 25 to 59.

- The Nation (29/Nov/2001)


"I have a grown son who is addicted to drugs, and my heart is breaking for him. The hardest thing for a mother is not being able to do something to stop this."


Student Drug Addicts

The following survey was conducted among 46,936 students nationwide from Primary 6 to university level between July 31-Oct 11 2001.

According to the survey, 6.5% of the respondents said they had used or were still using drugs.

Of all the drug users, 58.5% said they were addicted to methamphetamines, 42.2% to marijuana, 33.6% to sleeping pills or hallucinogenic drugs, 16.6% to solvents, 11.3% to Ecstasy, 10.5% to the so-called ``love drug'', 8.7% to ketamine, 7.6% to heroin, 5.6% to opium, 4.9% to cocaine, and 4.9% to morphine.

However, 71.2% of methamphetamine users said they had already quit.

Twenty-five percent said they were still using drugs, 2.3% admitted to selling drugs and the rest said they were both users and pushers.

Also, 70% of marijuana users and 57% of users of sleeping pills or hallucinogenic drugs said they had already quit.

Most users said they turned to drugs out of curiosity. The other reasons given for their involvement with drugs were the need to imitate their peers, family problems, fraud, nearness of drug sources, want of money, and intimidation.


"Like you I am a teenager but I live in America. I see drugs around me all the time but now after reading your diary I am scared even to try just one time."


If you have anything to say or want to write your own story, please click here.

For more information about Nattawud "Gor" Daoruang, please visit nattawud.com.


MORE PAGES:

Letters to a drug addict
Making life tougher for dealers
Drug Situation in Thailand
Drugs in Thailand

USEFUL LINKS:

Articles:

  • Addict's net diary makes teen famous - A Thai teenager is being hailed as "legendary" after chronicling his battle with drug addiction in an internet diary. The 16-year-old's diary tells how he confessed his addiction to his parents, how he ran away from police, his stays in hospital and how he finally kicked the habit.
  • Asia's Speed Crisis
    Methamphetamine has become Asia's narcotic of choice. A harrowingly personal account of the "mad medicine" that is holding whole communities hostage to its promise of a life less ordinary. (Time Magazine)

Web Sites:

"It is easy to start taking drugs, but it is very difficult to quit. Believe me I know it well. Your life will never be the same again. Please don't try it even one time. Don't ruin all your future by experimenting with drugs like me." - Gor (four months after first taking drugs)

Experimenting with Drugs

  • "I am not going to take drugs. I think because I saw the news and I could see people getting crazy about taking drugs."
  • "I wanted to be part of the group but I still said no to drugs. If they try to give drugs to me that means they are not a good friend because drugs are not a good thing."
  • "You can get drugs easily. Just tell someone who takes drugs and they will get it for you."
  • "I am just doing it now because I want to be bad. I have already promised my parents and friends that [next month] I will stop smoking and everything."
  • "I am in control."

Addicted to Drugs

  • "I first started it just for fun. My friends were doing it at my house so I wanted to try too. But, then I quickly became addicted."
  • "I am not in control. The drugs control me. I can't stop."
  • "When you see it in front of you, face to face with it often, I can't stop myself I can't do it. I tried to stop myself but I couldn't."
  • "I don't want my parents to know that I have been doing it."
  • "I am sure that if [my father] got angry with me I would take drugs more and more and more and I wouldn't stop.
  • "I slept all day in the classroom. I didn't learn properly for the last two weeks. Then after school I took drugs."
  • "I will stop taking drugs. If I go around thinking I can't do it then I won't be able to do it. I think I can, so I will do it."

My Struggle to Quit Drugs

  • "My two friends were talking about it and I couldn't stop myself."
  • "If someone is taking drugs in front of me or if I go into the toilets at school and I can smell the drugs I am tempted. It makes me want to take it."
  • "It was exciting because I was doing something I was not allowed to do. I was with my friends, sharing something with them which made me happy."
  • "What I can do is be strong. That is the only thing I can do. And, I will try and think about my parents, my work and my future."
  • "I agree with what I see on the adverts and think drugs are bad. But, when I am with friends and in that mood everything changes. We forget everything. I just concentrate on my friends."
  • "The teachers just say that drugs are bad but they don't say in what way. They just say it is bad don't try it."
  • "I can't stop being with my friends."

Starting was the Easy Part

  • "I was really tired and I needed the pills to keep me awake at school."
  • "Give me more time. Trust me. You promised me remember? You said that you would always be there for me if I asked. You can't quit. I am asking for help now."
  • "They then started to take one pill each. I didn't ask for any. I just sat down there and started to read my Harry Potter book. Inside me I felt like I really wanted it, but I stopped myself. I kept on reading."
  • "It was there in front of me and the silver foil too. So, I started to smoke it. After I inhaled it for the third time I got angry with myself and stopped myself from taking any more."
  • "It was very difficult for me to only take a little and then stop before I had finished."
  • "My mum gave me an amulet to protect me and to remind myself to quit taking drugs. She said to me to be strong."

Experimenting with Marijuana

  • "They had some marijuana and they asked me to take it. I said I don't mind so we started to prepare the plastic bottle."
  • "I am not taking it that often!"
  • "I can't control myself."
  • "Myself I think marijuana is worse because it made me do something that I can't remember. That is scary. Marijuana is a bad drug."
  • "With amphetamine I was more in control of my mind. With marijuana I lost control. I might have done something very stupid."
  • "I think I have gone forward because I am now stronger. I know how bad it is and how scary it can be. It has made be stronger to stop drugs."

A Brush with the Law

  • "I am clean. [The last time I took drugs was] on my 16th birthday, about 4 weeks ago.
  • "I won't go to places where people are buying or selling drugs any more."
  • "I learned my lesson."
  • "First my mum said she wouldn't come [to the police station]. She said she wanted me to go to drug rehab. That really upset me because I had stopped drugs now for nearly 4 weeks."

Sent to Drug Rehab

  • "We had a small party and there were drugs there too. All of my friends did it. They took amphetamine. I alone didn't take any because I had quit it. But, in the end I took some because everyone else was doing it."
  • "I thought I could just take one and then quit it. But, I was wrong. Once I started I couldn't stop."
  • "We were sharing but I think myself I used 10 pills those two days."
  • "We can do anything we like [at the drug rehab]."
  • "No-one is going to try and run away."
  • "The worst thing here is the medicine they make you take."
  • "The only other bad thing is when we run out of money as we won't have anything to do. It is sometimes boring when there is nothing to do."

Why I ran away from Drug Rehab

  • "If I stay there it is easier for me to get drugs."
  • "I am just staying at home, eating and sleeping."
  • "Sometimes I am alone and sometimes my friends come and visit."
  • "They are not allowed to take drugs in front of me.

Withdrawal Symptoms and Depression

  • "My uncle said that he wanted me to go to Chulalongkorn Hospital for drug therapy."
  • "I went there twice a week. It was interesting because I learned some things."
  • "Later, my uncle found a place called Tanyalak in Rangsit which is a famous drug rehab. He wanted me to go there."
  • "It was boring. Very boring. There was nothing to do. Nothing interesting."
  • "I don't know. I am confused. I can't think about anything. I don't know what I am going to do next"
  • "If I don't die before or take more drugs."
  • "I don't want to do this [interview] any more."

Reflection on what happened

  • "I feel better. I don't need drugs anymore."
  • "Now I have quit school. This year I am not going to learn."
  • "Even two months after I stopped I couldn't concentrate or make simple decisions about my life."
  • "The best way [to quit] is not to go out and hang around with your friends who are still taking drugs."
  • "I am really sorry that I didn't listen to my parents before."
  • "I shouldn't have tried it. Even one time. Just that one time changed everything."
  • "I used to be in the top class. My grades were always 3.5 and higher. But, after I started taking drugs, I missed school a lot and got into trouble with the police."
  • "Drugs are fun to start with. But soon you will be down in hell."
  • "It is important to understand that you won't know you are down there."
  • "If [my parents] had given up on me I don't know where I would be today. "

LETTERS TO A DRUG ADDICT: "I was very impressed with your interview and how you overcame your drug habit. I am a father in the U.S. I have a 24 year old son who went to prison for drugs. He now has overcome and is doing wonderfully. My heart is always close to anyone who has experienced the drug demon. I have never taken or sold drugs. At first it was hard for me to understand my son and why he wanted to do that. This occurred about 6 years ago and I lost touch with him because he refused to talk to me. I guess he felt ashamed. I hadn't seen my son for more than five years, but has recently started communication again because he want to see me now. Reading the accounts of your life has given me a little more insight of how important a roll peer pressure play in young people lives. I tried to figure out for many years what I had done wrong. I finally realized that it was my sons choice and I just need to be there for him when he needed me. This is where we are now. He calls me on his own and asks me why hadn't I called him sooner. (He used to tell me to stay out of his business) So I thank you for sharing a part of your life with the world. Surely you have helped thousands, but if it had only been 1, it has not been in vain. Thanks." - John, USA

"Gor, your interview is extremely inspirational - it was hard to keep the tears away from my eyes! Your story has truly touched me in an amazing way, and I commend you to continue to be a corageous man in your desire to keep far from drugs. You seem to have learned a lot from your mistakes, of which is highly honourable; I want to thank you for all the support and energy you bestow to keep "the worlds" teenagers away from drugs. Your story only confirms that every moment in life is a moment of learning, even in the deepest, darkest times... I love you brother!" - Dhand

"I am a teacher of physics and science at a school in Holland. I printed the teacher version of your series of interviews on your addiction and gave it to my pupils in Secondary 4 for reading. I later discussed it with them. I think it is of great interest for them and they really liked to talk about it. Thank you for revealing so much of your life." Will

"I also am a young person with almost two years clean and sober. Your higher power is watching you...always remember." - Rebecca

"You are a very strong man and you are very lucky to have the support of this interviewer. I will remember what you said about not being angry with the user if they fall and try not to upset them. Only to remind them of their mum and family and all who love them. I will use that as I assist my auntie recover. Best of luck to you in the future!" - Nesta

"My name is Camie, I am a 28-year-old woman from Canada who will be visiting Thailand at the beginning of May. I started looking at your site to learn some Thai words and then became curious about the link to your interviews on drug addiction. I thought you were an amazing boy before I knew you were a recovering drug addict...now, words can't express how much I respect you. You are an incredible young man with lots of talent and amazing dedication. I am very much looking forward to seeing your country. Thank you so much for putting together this great website and I wish you continued success in all your endeavours." Camie, Canada

[click for more letters]