Case study: 'Diet pills didn't do anything apart from make me feel worse'
Death of medical student Sarah Houston highlights dangers of buying pills online
Charlotte Philby is a writer at The Independent with a weekly column on motherhood in The Independent Magazine. She was shortlisted for the 2013 Cudlipp award for excellence in popular journalism for her undercover investigative work, and writes for various cultural magazines.
Tuesday 23 April 2013
Jazz McCutcheon, 18, student
I started taking diet pills when I was 16 and already battling with anorexia and bulimia. I bought them over the counter and online, when you look on the internet it’s quite crazy how often adverts crop up saying things like ‘lose a stone in a week’.
Being in the spiral I was in, I clicked on them and it grew into an obsession to get whatever I could find.
Anything is available online, you don’t have to go to a lot of effort to get controlled and uncontrolled pills. For some pills it just asked for my name and a doctor’s name, it didn’t have to be a real name and they would send you the pills. If you are determined enough anything is available.
Prices vary a lot. Some pills would be as much as £50 for a few weeks’ course, I would always buy whichever ones were on offer, they came from various countries in Britain, America and Europe. They didn't do anything apart from make me feel worse, I felt dizzy, got headaches, felt sick and shaky and jittery. At one time I lost control of my bowel movements.
The pills weren’t addictive but the fact that I thought they were doing something was. At the time I didn’t tell anyone. Eventually my mum found out, that’s when I got into treatment and met people who were going through the same thing. For people who have eating disorders, the promise these pills have on the packet is hard to resist.
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