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West End Extra - by JAMIE WELHAM
Published: 6 November 2009
Clea’s police mugshot – she weighed just 80lbs at the height of her addiction
Clea’s police mugshot – she weighed just 80lbs at the height of her addiction
‘Crystal Meth destroyed me. It is the devil’s own poison’

Pimlico woman’s book tells how drug addiction turned her American Dream into a nightmare

CLEA Myers shouldn’t have even been looking. She had it all: an Ivy league education, a Hollywood script-writing job and English rose good looks.
Unfortunately, this 23-year-old aspiring actress discovered something else in Los Angeles, and it wasn’t the American Dream; rather, a little-known drug so ravaging it defies classification: Crystal Meth.
“It was like my lover,” recalls Myers, now 37 and living in Pimlico. “It made me feel on top of the world, but my love for it nearly killed me.
“I went to prison, I lost my mind and by the time I went into rehab I weighed less than 80 pounds.
“I was so paranoid I believed people were trying to kill me. It’s the devil’s poison.”
She has just had her book published, Tweaking the Dream: A Crystal Meth True Story, which tells the story of her descent into “the hole” after becoming addicted to the amphetamine-based drug.
In the US, crystal meth – medical name methamphetamine – is more popular than heroine and cocaine because of its exhilarating effects, and experts say it is starting to gain a foothold here.
After a two-and-a-half year addiction to the drug – which last week was brought to the world’s attention when tennis star Andre Agassi confessed to taking it – Myers had done two “hellish” stints in a Los Angeles prison and suffered from such torrid hallucinations she was sectioned.
Worst of all, her insides were devoured: she was diagnosed with premature menopause and told she would never be able to have children. It all started so differ­ently.
“I arrived in Hollywood and kind of landed on my feet,” she recalls. “I got this job working in films, which was always my dream and things were basically going well.
“I hadn’t really been that happy at Brown (the Ivy league university in Rhode Island) so I felt like my life was going somewhere.
“But then I started hanging out with my neighbour (later her boyfriend) and he introduced me to crystal meth.
“It blew my mind. It was like taking cocaine times ten. It made me feel beautiful, talented and ultra-confident. I thought I was amazing and everybody around me was amazing.
“I remember thinking I had suddenly come across this new set of people who had opted to take a different path and that appealed to me.”
No wonder. Packed off to boarding school aged 9, a sensitive girl who admits to feeling “emotionally repressed” by her staunch middle class upbringing, it is understandable that Myers sought a way out.
But while crystal meth or “Ice” as it is known on the street, began as a lifestyle choice, she was too deluded to see the impending addiction, and in a matter of months she was shoplifting, rummaging around in skips and committing major fraud.
Her police mugshot serves as a warning. Emaciated, hagged and pock marked, all her natural beauty had been corroded. In her words, she looked like “an Auschwitz victim”.
“By then the only people I was hanging out with were tweakers (street slang for users).
“We carried out this scam to get money where we would find old cheques in the bins outside banks and wash them off with chemicals. The third time I tried to cash one I was arrested.
“After that I was arrested lots of times, and eventually ended up in prison with a load of drug dealers and gangsters. It was the worst experience of my life.”
She was sentenced to 18 months behind bars, but was given the chance to scrap the time if she returned to the UK to get straight. She didn’t hesitate. That was the start of her long road to recovery which finally ended just four years ago.
Earlier in the year a “meth lab” was discovered in Paddington. Myers, who now is volunteer campaigner for the drugs charity Frank and has taken up Buddhism, says she hopes her book will stop people trying the drug.
“It is the only drug that brought me to my knees,” she explains. “It destroyed my whole life and almost killed me. Now I have my life back and I can finally say I am happy.
“The book was a cathartic experience and I hope it will act as a warning to youngsters and the government.
“You can’t dabble with crystal meth. It’s not recreational, and anyone that says it is, is lying. If it comes here it will destroy a lot of lives.”

Tweaking the Dream: A Crystal Meth True Story is published by YouWriteOn.com, £7.99

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