Ice addict says jail saved him

NEW BEGINNING: Bo Richards wants ice users to know there is life after quitting the drug.
NEW BEGINNING: Bo Richards wants ice users to know there is life after quitting the drug. File

BO RICHARDS is a changed man.

At 22, the self-confessed former drug user and trafficker says his addiction to ice took him to hell - but he's come back and wants to let others know they can escape its clutches too.

At just 19, Mr Richards started using ice - dubbed the drug of choice in Bundaberg.

While he'd used marijuana before, he didn't feel it was a gateway drug. Ice just made him feel good - for a while.

After the thrill of the drug wore off, Mr Richards was left with body aches, depression and the pain of social isolation.

"I felt like nothing else mattered in life," he said.

"My addiction spiralled out of control when I stopped caring what people thought of me.

"At my worst I felt miserable, I felt worthless. I had isolated myself from society and started stealing for my habit."

Last year, Mr Richards appeared in Bundaberg Magistrates Court on a range of drug and stealing offences.

"Before I was using ice I'd go out, have fun," he said.

"I was working, I had everything going for me but once I started using I lost everything I cared about."

Mr Richards spent 215 days in prison, something that shook him out of the drug's clutches.

"My changing point was realising that if I didn't change I was never going to accomplish anything in life and never going to achieve my goals," he said.

"Getting off it was hard, the withdrawals were hectic.

"I was off it for about a month before I went to jail and the only thing that stopped me from using more then is I knew that I would just end up being in jail for the rest of my life - it's the thought of jail that really straightened me out."

Mr Richards said since quitting the drug everything had changed.

"I feel great now, I feel happy, I am positive and I have a new lease on life - a fresh start to make a difference," he said.

"I've been clean just over a year now an I'm proud of it."

Mr Richards has now turned his attention to getting a good job, travelling and someday starting a family.

His message to those caught in the web of ice addiction or those thinking of taking the drug is clear.

"If I would be able to say anything to people wanting to try it it'd be that it might feel good at first - it might even be fun at first - but after that wears off and you start coming down it's depressing, gives you body aches it makes you want to have more to feel happy because you hurt so much inside," he said.

"But after the first time you'll never be the same - you'll never be as happy or have as much fun as you did before you did it and you will end up on the wrong side of the law.

"For the people on it who want to change, I know it's hard to stop and I know it feels impossible but it is very possible.

"Firstly, cut ties with the people influencing you, find friends that don't use, find a hobby you enjoy and have fun without the drugs - you don't need them to be happy.

"This is all coming from a person who has been through hell and made it back, I was using from the age of 19 till I turned 21."

Mr Richards said he supported rehabilitation facilities in the region, but said ice users needed to want to make a change before any other factor could help.

Topics:  addict bundaberg drugs editors picks ice jail methamhetamines rehabilitation centre

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