Living in drug addiction for twenty years

Former ice addict Philip Dhu spent $79,000 in just 11 days on the drug.
Former ice addict Philip Dhu spent $79,000 in just 11 days on the drug.

AT the height of his methamphetamine addiction, Philip Dhu blew $79,000 in just 11 days on the drug ice.

The recovered addict said when he looked back on his use of speed and later meth, or ice, he realised if it were not for the drug, he could have been a millionaire.

“I started working in the mines from the age of 17 and there was a lot of money to be made up north,” Mr Dhu said.

“I have always held down pretty good jobs earning good money, including working as a train driver for BHP.

“Everyone had a lot of money and a lot of people were into speed and people saw it (dealing drugs) as a way of making extra money,” he said.

His 22-year descent into hell began when he first saw his cousin injecting speed.

“I was curious about what it would do and I asked my cousin for some but he told me to ‘eff off’, but I persisted and he let me try it,” Mr Dhu said.

“I was pretty young to be trying something like that at 16, but what worries me now is that we are hearing that 12-year-olds are using it,” he said.

Mr Dhu first started using speed in 1992, but it was not until 2012 that he started to dabble in methamphetamines.

“From 1993 until 2012 I had some control over my speed use, but when I tried methamphetamine, that is when things |really started to spiral out of control,” he said.

“I lost my long-term partner of 16 years, my house, my job and all of my belongings.

“On average I was spending about $2000 a week on speed overall, but when I was in the grip of methamphetamine addiction I managed to blow my entire $79,000 payout from my job in just 11 days,” he said.

The 39-year-old said he sold everything including four-wheel-drives, boats and other possessions to support his growing habit.

“I was borrowing money off my parents and had people ask me to score drugs for them, but I would just steal their money and use it to buy drugs for myself,” he said.

Finally, Mr Dhu broke down in front of his parents, who suspected he had a problem and it was shortly after that he decided he wanted to get clean.

Mr Dhu went to the nearest recovery centre in Northam and began the long hard road to recovery. Today Mr Dhu lives in Alexander Heights and is proud of the fact that he has been clean for six months thanks to the help of the Fresh Start recovery program, which uses drugs such as naltrexone, and health and life support programs.

“I’m lucky to have supportive parents who are proud of me today,” Mr Dhu said.

“The most difficult thing about my addiction was looking into the eyes of my kids and how they looked at me – I will take that to my grave, I don’t ever want to see them look at me like that again,” he said.

Mr Dhu said when he talked to others going through rehabilitation for drug addiction, he reminded them to think of the positives in life.

“My motto is small steps, big heart – that is what got me through,” he said.