'I smoke cannabis, but aerosols messed me up'

Chelsea is 15 and lives in Hillingdon, west London. She smokes cannabis - which she calls 'puff' - about once a fortnight, has taken LSD and spent most of the summer holidays sniffing aerosols. She now receives advice and counselling from the local drugs education team, writes Danny Penman.

'I wouldn't say I smoke puff very regularly, just about once a fortnight at parties. Now I've stopped doing aerosols because it really messed me up.

Basically, I was depressed, had nothing to do, with nowhere to go and it took up my time.'

Now Chelsea - not her real name - is determined to 'stick to cannabis', saying: 'It's just something to do with my mates and I like it.' She refuses drugs like ecstasy and speed 'because they're dangerous'.

She gets most of her cannabis from a friend and 'occasionally my uncle gives some to me because he has a few plants'. Her parents are divorced. Her two brothers live with her mother. She lives with her father. He once took cocaine but Chelsea said: 'I don't want to give the impression he was a druggie - he was just going through a divorce and was really messed up at the time'.

Chelsea says cannabis is relatively simple to buy. 'It's only a phone call away. It's cheap, lasts a long time and it's better than being drunk. When you're drunk you're out of control, but being stoned you're in control and you can be yourself and have a laugh.'

She has no plans to give up. 'Maybe in a few years . . . but at the moment, I like it and I will carry on.'

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