Sophie Heawood: Why it is right to tell kids that heroin's divine

Davina McCall's honesty will pay off

Related Topics

As wise parental counsel goes, telling eight-year-olds that using heroin feels fantastic isn't exactly up there with keeping wet fingers out of electrical sockets or avoiding car rides with strangers. So it is understandable that anti-drugs campaigners have hit out at telly presenter Davina McCall in the last few days, after she revealed that she had told her daughter just that.

Except for one thing – she's right. Heroin does feel fantastic. Why else would people send it swimming into their bloodstream and let it take over their lives?

"Recently, because of something on Radio 1, we had to have a drugs conversation," Davina told Easy Living magazine.

"Holly, my eldest, asked me: 'What do they feel like?' 'If I told her that heroin didn't feel nice and then she tried it and it did, she'll think: 'Oh Mum was lying.'

"But if I say: 'Heroin is so fantastic you'll want to take it again, then you'll get addicted, which is horrible,' that's honest and more frightening. Wait until they ask and tell them the truth."

As the Big Brother presenter, herself a former addict, is well aware, you don't take drugs because you're reckless and self-destructive. You take them because they make you feel bloody great AND you're reckless and self-destructive enough to make that immediate thrill a higher priority than your long-term well-being.

And this is what her critics fail to understand, but what we have to get across to the young.

One of my more strait-laced friends once told me that her father, a lovely man, had taken heroin a couple of times when he was younger. I was surprised by the revelation – mainly because she herself was so singularly uninterested in altering her state of mind.

Hadn't his confession made her curious? Well no, she said, because what he explained to her, at quite a young age, was that the heroin felt so unbelievably good he knew it had to be doing something unbelievably bad, so after dabbling twice he decided never to go near it again.

Another friend of mine, the only person I know who has worked in nightclubs for 10 years without so much as getting drunk, is often asked how her crazy work environment has never tempted her to dabble. She always tells them that her mum was an experimental hippy who, on one particularly scintillating acid trip, lay in a farmer's field for ten hours, staring at a fox.

Not that the mum reported this as an unpleasant experience, exactly, but my friend grew up firmly convinced that watching a nice big flat-screen telly in a centrally-heated living room was infinitely more appealing than ogling wild animals in fields of barley.

There are no two ways about it – drugs can be amazing. Ecstasy makes you feel so loving that you start thinking it could solve all the world's wars; you want to put it in the water supply at the Houses of Parliament. Cocaine gives you balls of pure steel and makes you feel like the most important person in the room. Heroin is central heating for the soul, "the kiss of the archangels", as Sebastian Horsley described it.

Until they wear off, that is.

One line is too many and one hundred is never enough. The coming down, and the coming off narcotics, sucks the life out of you, until you feel as if something that should be scrunched up and thrown in the bin.

So tell kids the truth about drugs. Tell them that they take you from feeling invincible at a party, all ten storeys of endless-and-forever you, to standing alone and desperate in a bathroom somewhere, clutching at your skin as you try desperately to make the floor stop shaking and the tiles stop hating you.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The economy expanded by 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2014  

British economy: Government hails the latest GDP figures, but there is still room for scepticism over this 'glorious recovery'

Ben Chu
Comedy queen: Miranda Hart has said that she is excited about working on the new film  

There is no such thing as a middle-class laugh

David Lister
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little