I read an article recently titled ‘Teenager was found dead at #BoomTown after taking ket, coke, M-cat, LSD and Es’ in The Metro. The article revolved around 18 year old Olivia Christopher who was tragically found dead in her tent by her boyfriend at a festival.
There was so much wrong with this article that I found myself fuming. The article unjustly demonised her, painted her out to be a drug gobbling monster and incited horrific and hateful comments. I cannot imagine the horrendous trauma that her boyfriend must be going through, waking up next to her or what her friends and family must be feeling. It could have only been what I imagine to be a real life horror movie.
Most people have been to a festival before and a lot of people have taken #drugs, mixed drugs and drank a lot more than they can handle whilst at a festival. The excitement of going to a field in the middle of nowhere with no parents in sight with your best friends to get messed up and dance without a care in the world is what festivals are all about right? Sometimes that can go wrong though, and for Olivia Christopher this was sadly the case.
‘drug related deaths are very low’
According to #Addiction specialist Stephanie Chivers, ‘drug related deaths are very low’. She goes on to say: “Toxicologists also often don’t actually know what the exact causes of deaths a lot of the time and so we don’t know the real numbers, particularly because people are poly drug using so they don’t always know what interactions are causing the problem”.
The Metro’s article is spammed with abusive comments such as “What did she expect putting all that crap in her body”, followed by another saying “own fault”, “Idiot” and “Sorry but she knew what she was doing” – did she? The education on drugs is certainly lacking and at 18 I had no idea what I was doing, I was just following the party and looking for my next fun fix.
Olivia did not go to BoomTown festival intending to overdose, she went, like most teenagers do to have a good time. She was not a train wreck waiting to happen, she was a kid. Despite what the law says at 18 you are still mentally a child and you still very much dependent on guidance.
Why is there a lack of education?
Platforms which could be used to provide guidance and promote change are instead posting click-bait articles which serve no purpose other than to get views. How about instead of attacking kids who accidentally overdose, you take some responsibility and take a real look at who is really at fault here - like the government officials who refuse to acknowledge the simple solutions to minimise dangers.
Chivers explains: “There is a total lack of education which is key. We need to have places where people can test their drugs too. If you just took E and then you drank water you’d be fine but actually now we’ve got people drinking and then doing coke and then doing Valium to come down off and people aren’t educated in terms of if you have a weak heart – it’s a lottery”.
This type of information needs to be drummed into people as much as road safety is. Drug education currently is just ‘don’t do them’. However, what needs to instead be said is how to do them and what to avoid. In 2015 22,830 people were killed or seriously injured in road casualties, despite these statistics you aren’t ever going to be able to stop people from driving. We do however, put our seat-belts on every day. The same course of action which is taken to prevent road deaths needs to be taken with drug related deaths.
Olivia Christopher would have received her A-Level results recently with her friends and has been described as ‘so much fun, easy going and brilliant with kids’. She loved and cared for animals and her family have set up an online donation page where any money donated will be sent to the animal charity.