PSHE/Citizenship GCSE: Sam's experience of using ketamine

Sam describes how his life dramatically changed through his involvement with illegal drugs.

He reflects honestly about his experience and explains how what started out as fun eventually led to reliance, with severe physical and psychological consequences.

Sam, now in his early twenties, reflects on how a cocktail of drugs devastated his teenage years.

An addiction to ketamine, a powerful general anaesthetic, severely damaged his kidneys, and caused him to pass blood in his urine, as the lining of his bladder was destroyed.

He recalls the downward spiral in which he took more and more of the drug to try to combat the pain.

Eventually Sam was thrown out of university and went into rehab.

Sam's story is interspersed with graphics, which explain in detail the chemical and biological processes that were taking place in his body as he was taking drugs.

The film also highlights key statistics in relation to young people's drug taking, confirming that only a very small minority of young people have ever tried them.

This clip is from the series Drink and Drugs: My Story.

Teacher Notes

The clip could spark discussions in class on drug use and its dangers.

Sam's story is one of significant risky behaviours, but there is one in particular, what do you think it is?

Teachers could note that he was using ketamine alone. Students could be tasked with drawing the effects of ketamine - an anaesthetic - on a map of the brain and body.

Extensive use of ketamine can damage the body significantly, particularly the bladder and kidneys. As a result of the pain, users of ketamine often use more of it as it's an anaesthetic, beginning a vicious cycle.

Ask students why they think people use drugs.

This could lead to discussions about peer pressure, feeling lonely as in Sam's case and coping with life in general.

What are healthier ways of coping with the challenges of growing up and other life challenges?

Sam's family lost trust in him, what do you think that must be like? What was it like for Sam and what was it like for the people who love him?

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching the dangers of drug use in PSHE and Citizenship. This topic appears in OCR, Edexcel, AQA, WJEC KS4/GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 4/5 in Scotland.

More from Drink & Drugs: My Story

Jade's experience of taking mephedrone
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Lorne's experience of smoking cannabis
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Rose's experience of taking legal high drugs
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Alan's experience of drinking alcohol at 14
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Anna's experience of drinking alcohol at 17
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Emily's experience of drinking alcohol at 16
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Jordan's experience of drinking alcohol at 16
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