Implant helped end meth nightmare
NATASHA was in “hell” for more than 20 years before she heard of Fresh Start’s naltrexone implant program.
“I had to leave home when I was 13. I was on the streets,” she said.
“I became friends with a dealer. I started dealing ecstasy when I was 13, I started taking it on the weekend and I progressed from ecstasy to speed.
“When I was about 19, dealers were saying ‘there’s this stuff, it’s like speed but stronger and more pure’.
“It was sold to me as speed. It was not until I tried to stop that I realised I couldn’t, which was nothing like what I had experienced.”
Natasha was a constant user for more than a decade before her first serious attempt to get off meth seven years ago.
“I went to a residential program but because I was pregnant at the time the program was no good for me. They didn’t take into account my morning sickness, and I could not get out of bed to do things like the 6am run.
“My son was 12 at the time. He was with his dad and having problems. I phoned the farm and tried to explain the situation, but they said they would kick me out if I didn’t come back that day. I needed one night - and my son comes first.”
Natasha was desperate to stop using while she was pregnant and went into King Edward Memorial Hospital.
“They were helping me manage my using. It was hell. I was dealing with the cravings every day, and the physical effects, but I could do it because I was pregnant. When I gave birth to my daughter I started using again.”
Natasha explored every service she could find but didn’t know about Fresh Start at the time.
“You name it, I tried it. They doped me up to my eyeballs to the point my mum was scared of letting me carry a coffee. I was on 16 different tablets - it was disgusting. I could not live like that… I went back to meth,” she said.
Her third attempt to stop was prompted by the onset of meth-induced psychosis.
“Being a mum is everything to me - to be a good influence. I started to see things. I saw a black rat run under my bed covers. I was panicking and called for my son. I was hysterical, it must have been a terrible thing for him to see.
“I was like this for a couple of days, trying to get him to chase this animal that was not there. It was the wake-up call. I asked my mum to admit me to the psych ward at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. After six weeks I came out and started using again - and started to have psychosis again.”
Natasha stopped using everything - meth and the medication that kept her in a stupor.
“I knew if I went back on meth I would die. I reached out on Facebook. I researched and found Fresh Start.”
She rang Fresh Start and they invited her to come the next day and receive a naltrexone implant.
“I got an implant and I have never used again. That was two-and-a-half years ago,” Natasha said.
“Before I went to George O’neil I tried to kill myself. I wanted to be off drugs and had no options. I gave up. I had three choices - kill myself, be on meth, or be doped up. This is why we are losing so many people.”
Natasha is now enjoying the best time of her life.
“Things are great now. Being on meth was living hell,” she said.
“For the first time in my adult life I am functioning. I am going back to school to study community services, I always wanted to study something that would help people, and I have great relationships with my kids.
“I feel like I am in heaven every day. I feel joy - I feel free. Meth is just a distant nightmare.”
The implant gave Natasha “freedom” from compulsion to use meth every day.
“I still had to go through withdrawals for six months. People around me took two years out of their lives to help me.”
Natasha is now starting her own not-forprofit organisation - the Lynchpin Centre - offering a full relapse prevention service for people who need to get clean and stay clean.
“I know people who if they had the right services to help them straight away after an implant - so many more would be able to get clean.”