PJ is 21. She has just finished making a television documentary on ‘heroin addiction’. Her mother, who organises a support group for the parents of drug addicts, persuaded her to do it. All it involved was telling her story—her past, her present, and how she saw the future. She remembered her childhood quite well; her mother was often away from home or intoxicated at home when she was quite small; she had a slightly older sister whom she seemed to follow through life. PJ remembers first going to school, a year after her sister had started, remembers feeling so shy and frightened of the other children she would hide under the coats in the cloakroom. She remembers her sister always being good at things—school, music, sports—she remembers wanting to be special or clever at something. Most of her school years were uncomfortable—she never seemed to know how to make friends or be friends with other people.
At the age of 13 she began listening to rock’n’roll music and then going to concerts. One day some older children from school recognised her at a concert and invited her to join them. They were smoking cannabis and offered her some. She accepted, mainly because it was what they were doing and she was flattered to be asked to join them. She enjoyed the effect of the cannabis—because it made the music sound better and made her feel more relaxed about being younger than the others. It made her feel grown-up.
From then on PJ looked out for the same group of youngsters at concerts and regularly joined them, smoked cannabis with them and had a good time. After a few months she was at a concert where her friends knew the boys in the band; they all went off to a party afterwards and PJ was invited along. At the party there were drugs other than cannabis—some white powder people were snorting off mirrors through twenty pound notes. PJ was intrigued; when offered