Giorgia has a sharp and deep look, when with lively voice tells the story of her personal return journey to hell caused by only half a tablet of ecstasy. She does it constantly from about eleven years before audiences of high school students, the category that is the most vulnerable to the transgressive recall of drugs. She tries to raise awareness about the risks that one faces with drugs.
One step away from death
The date of 16 October 1999 is imprinted in her memory as a seal in the wax. She was attending the third year of the Liceo Scientifico in Milan, the flower of her youth risked to be severed by the desire to try a transgressive experience. She took half a tablet of ecstasy that was given to her by a friend, produced in Holland with mice poison. For her, that half tablet was a devastating weapon. Her liver went in necrosis. She underwent an urgent transplant that saved her life by a whisker.
After eighteen years, today, the memories of those days that preceded that evening pass like a blow of wind in her mind. Interviewed by in Terris, Giorgia reveals that together with her friends thay had decided in advance that on that Saturday night, in the disco, they would have taken drugs. “At School – she explains – circulated leaflets of the Ministry of Health which had the objective of limiting the damage. They advised to make a controlled use of drugs, and in the case of ecstasy, the leaflets invited not to mix it with alcohol, to drink plenty of water, to continuously wet the wrists”.
The information campaign, omitting that ecstasy can even lead to death for fulminant hepatitis, begat however the opposite effect. “By reading the brochures – continues Giorgia – I thought about the dissuasive wordings on cigarettes packets: everyone knows that they are armful, but nobody believes that smoking one cigarette you can risk your life. In the case of the ecstasy instead it is like that”.
Giorgia has paid dearly for that careless act of youth and for that lax government policy. The delicate operation of urgency and then years in and out from hospitals for tests, cares and medicines. From that dramatic episode resulted the awareness that “with drugs there are no compromises”.
An awareness that since 2006 she tries to pass down to the students in schools. Between students and parents, she meets almost ten thousand people per month. “In these years – she says – I have noticed that a few things have changed. Firstly, the age of drug users decreased. There are now 11 years old children who smoke cannabis and sometimes, to emulate the elder ones, they try more heavy substances”.
A difficult battle
It is significant what she still tells: “Many young students sniff anti-inflammatory medicines in powder as if it is cocaine – she explains. They manage to elude parents and teachers making them believe that they carry these sachets for any headaches“.
The use of medicines for the recreational purposes is a dramatic reality of youth that – reveals Giorgia – crosses the whole of Italy and all social classes, due to its affordability. But it must be said that now even the price of other drugs is drastically reduced. “Some time back – she explains – cocaine was mainly widespread among well-off youth, it was considered the drug of the rich people. Today, since there is only 17% of pure cocaine and the rest is a mix of various craps, it has a cost that can be afforded almost by everyone”.
The faults of the media
While releasing the interview, we can see outside the window a big billboard of the sequel of Trainspotting, cult movie of the 1990s that tells the story of a group of boys who spend their time taking drugs. I ask Giorgia how many responsibilities have the media in the spread of drugs among young people.
“They have a big responsibility “, she responds laconic. “The problem – she continues – is that often those who throw messages do not know what effects they can cause or the level of social emergency of the phenomenon”. Giorgia blames public figures that “make statements that are potentially very damaging”. In fact, “a sentence in favour of drugs pronounced by a singer has a huge grip on young people“, and threatens to “frustrate a large part of the work of awareness made every day”.
The DVD directed by Ambrogio Crespi entitled Giorgia lives – the story of an end that is only the beginning, has just been published, and a few years ago, the story of Giorgia has instead been collected in her testimony book “Would you like to transgress? Do not take drugs! (ed. San Paolo)“.
Drug always presents the bill
But how can we convince the youth that true transgression with respect to certain models imposed is not to take drugs? “I restrict myself – answers Giorgia – to tell my story and the one of many young people who, unlike me, died after taking drugs”. But not only. “You pay your bill to drugs in any case. When you survive often you do it in conditions that can also be very limiting”, emphasizes Giorgia. Impotence, loss of teeth and hair, skin ruined, nervous tics, brain damage: these are just some of the effects of drugs which Giorgia explains to young people.
She refers to all drugs, light and heavy. “It is clear that there are differences between the various drugs and that there are some that have immediate lethal effects – she clarifies -. But also light drugs, if one makes a constant use of them, in the long term provide serious damage“.
The truth about the legalization
The theme introduces the issue of the legalization of light drugs, advanced by a draft law that is now being examined by the Parliament. “I am totally opposed – comments Giorgia -, moreover the same students that I meet in schools highlight the contradictions of the draft law”.
According to her “it is not by legalizing cannabis that you educate young people”. Indeed, if there will be authorized resellers as stipulated in the text of the draft law, “the pushers will lower the price to make it more competitive and consumers will increase “. In addition – she underlines – “the possibility of cultivating in the house up to five plants could encourage the dealing, maybe against underage children to which this possibility is denied”.
The battle to raise the awareness of young people about the hazards of drugs must then have to face the friendly fire of draft laws for the legalisation and of the models proposed by music and TV. Giorgia continues undeterred, encouraged whenever a guy is convinced by listening to her testimony. “I have many positive feedbacks – she explains, many write to me showing me the importance of this second possibility that I was given in life”. Help the kids not to succumb to the deception of drugs is today her commitment and also her joy.