Popular youtuber Mestosław spoke out for the first time about his mephedrone addiction. He wants others to learn from his mistakes.
Damian Sobczyk (Mestosław), has long been involved in promoting rational knowledge and policy on psychoactive substances. Last year, together with Bartek Przybyszewski, he published a book titled "Haj, czyli jak nie szkodzić sobie i innym" ("High or How not to Harm Yourself and Others") where they decribed most of the known psychoactive substances, also taking into account the effects of taking them.
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Sobczyk never hid the fact that he experimented with many legally prohibited substances. Due to his rheumatoid arthritis, he also has a prescription for medical marijuana. However, it was only on 19 September that he decided to speak openly about the fact that he was addicted to mephedrone and about the damage it had caused to his life.
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How did Mestosław’s problems with stimulants begin? He himself says that a lack of knowledge played a key role. He acquired information about illegal substances from friends and online forums. Sobczyk says that the way psychoactive substances are portrayed in official channels is downright harmful.
A young man at school learns that any smoking of cannabis is virtually tantamount to becoming addicted to hard drugs. On the other hand, his friends may say that smoking marijuana feels great. So when a person actually tries it, it turns out that reality speaks in favour of the credibility of the latter.
Mestosław admits that he got addicted due to the common thinking in Poland that "drugs are drugs". He reasoned that if cannabis turned out to be not so scary after all, then presumably the same applied to mephedrone, cocaine or any other drug. Sobczyk also had the misfortune of entering adulthood at a time when designer drugs - psychoactive substances not covered by drug laws - were available and popular among the youth.
How did Sobczak fall into addiction?
It was from weekend partying on designer drugs that Mestosław's history with addiction began. In the recently published video, he admits that he is shocked that such substances could be ordered by anyone. Especially since people usually ordered large quantities of designer drugs "to stock up" because it came out cheaper.
Sobczyk came across mephedrone through friends. In his video, he talks the impact it had on his relationships: hiding from family and friends and the barriers this created, about "recalibrating" his group of friends so that it included people that could use drugs together.
"Getting high at weekends, dying on Monday, Tuesday or even Wednesday," this is how Mestosław described his lifestyle at the time. He also confessed that he began to feel the need of using mephedrone during the week just to beat the fatigue caused by weekend partying.
Mestosław on the effects of mephedrone abuse
Suddenly the physical symptoms of abuse appeared. First it was thrush in his dry mouth, then came sweating and a permanent runny nose. He tried to hide the latter at work by placing tissues and sore throat tablets on his desk. He felt very uncomfortable when concerned co-workers advised him to check whether he had developed allergies. Especially since he also developed psychological symptoms of overuse such as nervousness, irritability and over-emotionality.
When, at one of the events he attended, the organisers stated that there would be no stimulants because they wanted to limit them, Sobczak had no problem with this. Instead, he was deeply moved by the behaviour of a colleague, who became irritated and announced that "if she had known, she wouldn't have come". Mestosław then understood that he never wanted to find himself in such a situation.
What helped him with withdrawal was ayahuasca, which strengthened his resolve and the need to fight the addiction. The youtuber admits that, like most addicts, he had several attempts to free himself from the compulsion to use.
Mestosław was recently a guest on the Vibez.pl YouTube channel where he stressed the importance of a rational approach to psychoactive substances. He believes that banning them all will not change the fact that they will continue to be present in our environment. He considers it right to legalise medical cannabis, which has shown that access to safe, taxed cannabis has not caused any dramatic social consequences.
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However, the activist criticised the commercial market for medical marijuana in Poland. He said: "These commercials with Snoop Dog, which are also displayed to me, are really harmful. Their producers are simply making money thanks to fake prescriptions. The doctor doesn't do an examination, he trusts your words, there is no consultation."
Reliable knowledge of psychoactive substances should be widespread
The activist believes that when used properly, psychedelics can have a beneficial effect on mental health. This opinion is in line with modern medical knowledge. For instance, MDMA has been proven to be effective in treating post-traumatic stress. Clinical trials of psilocybin are showing very promising results in cases of treatment-resistant depression.
Both substances were legalised for medical use in Australia this year. They can be administered only by specialists, aa a skilfully conducted session is a prerequisite for safety and having beneficial effects on mental health. It needs to be underscored, that there are people for whom these substances can be highly dangerous.
Other countries will soon follow Australia's lead. It makes no rational sense to put an equal sign between highly addictive stimulants or dissociatives and psychedelics or cannabis. As Mestosław has repeatedly emphasised, it is important that reliable knowledge about psychoactive substances is widespread. Even if we do not use them ourselves, perhaps our loved ones unfortunately do.