FRED has been taking drugs for 30 years and says he does not know any other kind of life.
The 44-year-old Nollamara resident was in primary school when he first tried marijuana and just a couple of years later experienced amphetamines with friends.
“It spiralled out of control from there,” he said.
“I was always off my chops.”
Fred was kicked out of school at 14 and at 16 was arrested for drug possession.
His father sent him to Sydney two years later, where he completed a chef’s apprenticeship.
It was after returning to Perth and working as a chef at a Northbridge restaurant that he was first offered methamphetamine.
“I was doing shots in the cool room while I was cooking,” he said.
MORE: Community Action on Meth series
Mental Health Commission director says WA meth epidemic a myth
High meth use in parts of City of Stirling sees establishment of prevention and education program
More than 7000 calls made to Meth Helpline in WA
Fred admits to dealing drugs and was recently released from jail but said he found it difficult to stop because he was well known in the area and constantly approached by buyers.
“It’s too easy to make money. There’s just about a dealer on every street,” he said.
His son, now 18, was removed from his parents when he was young. Fred reconnected with him two years ago and has a close relationship with his 11-year-old son.
“My son absolutely hates it, he just wants me to get better,” he said.
“It’s the only two things I know how to do – do drugs and cook. I’m just used to putting something into my body.”
Having tried methadone and naltrexone, which blocks the effects of opioids, Fred decided to enter a rehabilitation program in Subiaco.
“I’m sick of this lifestyle. I hate this life, it’s chaotic. I don’t know what normal is,” he said.
He said he could not wait to start and was feeling hopeful, even talking about his life beyond drugs.
“I wouldn’t mind becoming a drug counsellor,” he said.
Fred also hoped for greater understanding and community support for people struggling with drug addiction.
“We’re human, we make mistakes. I don’t wish this on anyone, it’s not living, it seriously isn’t,” he said.
If you or someone you know needs help, call:
24/7 Alcohol and drug support line – 9442 5000
24/7 Meth helpline – 1800 874 878
24/7 Parent and family support line – 9442 5050
The Stirling Local Drug Action Team is a Federal Government-funded initiative comprising 26 local organisations working together to deliver programs that prevent and minimise harm from alcohol and other drug use, particularly meth, in the community.