Photos show cocaine horror

By Deborah Condon

British police have launched a shocking new advertising campaign, in an attempt to show the full horrors of cocaine addiction.

The campaign shows photographs of actual drug users, in order to illustrate how their physical appearance deteriorates dramatically over time.

Roseanne Holland, shown below, is just 29 in the first picture. The last picture was taken when she was 37.


Melissa Collara, shown below, is 18 in the first picture. The second picture was taken just three years later. By this time, the 21-year-old had been arrested 17 time for prostitution to pay for her addiction to crack cocaine.


Penny Wood, shown below, was addicted to methamphetamine ('speed') meanwhile and her decline is depicted over a four-year period, when she was aged 36 - 40.


Penny is now drug-free, however the fate of Roseanne and Melissa is not certain. Both are thought to be dead.

When asked if her picture could be used as part of the campaign, Penny wrote a letter to the organisers describing the horrors of her addiction.

"This drug is evil. There is no other way to describe takes everything I have to walk a flight of stairs. My lungs are destroyed. I have no control over my bladder - I pee my pants all the time. I can't take a bowel movement without a laxative. My short and long-term memories are near to none", she wrote.


Anonymous - 02/11/2004 13:16

the use of sock horror techniques to promote healty life styles is occuring more fequently in the media,such disturbing images allow individuals to experience the effects drug addiction can have on their life. in the past the subject of drug addication was a taboo subject and the full implecations of addication were not made open to the public. i welcome the campaign as it has the merits to create a more realistic image of drug addication to society

Anonymous - 02/11/2004 22:58

I had a cousin who died aged 36 having been a drug user from she was 22. She looked like an old old woman of about 90, she had been so beautiful before addiction. "Don't use drugs".

Anonymous - 03/11/2004 13:54

My brother has been a drug user for 15 years on and off. He was so handsome as a young man, now at age 38 he looks 70, bent over, gray skinned and white haired. His teeth are ruined by methadone, and he admits himself he is just waiting to die, as all his friends are already dead. so like anonymous above "Don't use drugs".

Anonymous - 03/11/2004 14:01

why are they all female pictures?

Anonymous - 03/11/2004 15:37

Shock tactics do not work... when are we going to see some more postive approaches to the issue of drug use including information on help and support available, how if you are going to use drugs to do so in safer ways. Just say no is not relevant to young people when people start using drugs they never xpect to get caught up in the cycle of addiction so young people looking at these pictures will just think it wont happen to me I only use a small bit of cocaine at the weekend.

Anonymous - 03/11/2004 15:53

These images are quite horrific and shocking, and for some people this hammers home the message about the effects of drug use. However, there are some people who may laugh and sneer at this type of anti-drug advertising, especially if they know someone who uses drugs regularly, looks healthy, and has a normal life. Just something to think about!

Anonymous - 03/11/2004 16:58

The images published are shoking but they represent the truth. Cocaine is a very dangerous illic drug. Not only mentaly but physicaly cause a great damage. It also causes coronary sclerosis and fatal myocardial infarction

eskimocat - 03/11/2004 17:02

I believe that these pictures will frighten off some of the more naive youth who think it might be fun to experiment. It shows the true horrors of addiction. However I think that each picture should have the story of how the addiction started. The story and picture combined will show that it can happen to anyone so don't mess with Drugs!

p(ZUX19868) - 03/11/2004 20:08

I agree that an outline of the story of the people depicted would add greater impact to the pics. What a godawful drug!!

Anonymous - 04/11/2004 08:10

I agree with the above comment that the pictures should also include how the person got started on the drug as it would give an insight into how simple it is. Nobody gets addicted delibertly, it just happens. The only thing about this type of campaign, those who do not want to know will choose not to look. How many of us change the channel on the TV when we do not want to see the horror's of life.

Anonymous - 04/11/2004 08:15

Research indicates that fear/shock campaigns are NOT effective at preventing risky behaviour unless they are accompanied by some suggestions on how to prevent this behaviour. More input is needed in schools to discuss drug use, it's implications and role play on how to say no. Such campaigns make the govenment feel they are doing their bit about drug awareness. I feel it is a lazy and expensive attempt which will not have the desired effect.

Anonymous - 04/11/2004 09:34

I think the horror pictures will work temporarily but then they are forgotten about. They need to be shown in schools and target areas where the drug is used more frequently. Maybe in toilets in pubs and clubs where the drug is taken.

Anonymous - 04/11/2004 09:43

But shock tactics do work, in Queensland in AQustralia, shock advertising on road deaths due to dangerous driving cut road deaths by 75% in just 18 months.

Anonymous - 04/11/2004 14:23

The shock tactics in relation to road deaths in Queesnsland were proven to be effective cos they highlighted the negative impact unsafe driving can have on the lifes of others not the unsafe drives own life,people are alot more fatalistic about their own lives couple this with low self esteem, powerlessness,poor opportunites etc etc and we may get a glimpse into why people may use drugs problematicically. These types of campaigns merely reinforce the decisions taken by those who choose not to engage in high risk behaviour/s (here drug use), they also serve to reinforce negatives stereotypes and poor self image of drug users...the cost is too high for the limited gain

Anonymous - 07/11/2004 01:05

The ads remind me of the pictures they showed years ago of black lungs from smoking. Very explicit but irrelevant to young people that may feel immortal. Money needs to be spent on promoting alternative lifestyles e.g. the natural morphine the body produces through sporting activities.

blaggarde - 09/11/2004 19:02

All that these "shock tactics" will achieve is to lower the denominator of what is acceptable in public discourse, from low to lowest. Do we really have to descend to rock bottom in this way? Should we have pictures of corpses put on every dodgy foodstuff or every questionable product in order to "make a point"? This type of thing is terrorism by another name and will do absolutely nothing to improve the lot of those unfortunates whose lives are crippled by drugs.

Anonymous - 10/11/2004 10:03

But if this is the reality of cocaine addiction, what's wrong with exposing it for what it is. I know that there is an ad which shows in graphic terms, the build up of deposits in the arteries of the heart. Pretty disgusting if the TV is on during dinner and the ad is shown, but it is the reality.

blaggarde - 13/11/2004 01:00

Well the ultimate reality is that we all die and our corpses rot in the ground in the most unspeakable way. But i don't see the immediate need to put the photographs up to keep everyone reminded.

Larissa(larissaa) - 16/11/2004 10:16

Shock tactics do work as it puts a fear into you and shows you what can happen if you mess with cocaine

blaggarde - 19/11/2004 02:36

On with the corpse-pics then, and you can be the one to show em to the kiddies.

Anonymous - 19/11/2004 10:00

Yes, blagarde, we all die, but we need not all die from the effects of cocaine addiction

blaggarde - 20/11/2004 00:54

I agree completely. We need not. Almost everybody doesn't.

Anonymous - 22/11/2004 11:10

But for those who do, should be not show the horror is causes. Surely a deterrent to many is far more important than protecting the over-sensitivity of a few.

blaggarde - 24/11/2004 02:30

No we shouldn't consider showing the horror. There is enough horror nomatter where you look nowadays. There is also enough depression without us needing a conscious effort to make it worse.

Anonymous - 24/11/2004 10:01

I imagine you would be far more horrified and depressed if one of your family or friends died as a result of this addiction.

blaggarde - 26/11/2004 02:15

I'm not in favour of terrorising the population as a matter of public policy.

Anonymous - 26/11/2004 09:24

Cocaine (and addiction in general) is already terrorising the population. Maybe showing its true effects will help prevent it.

Anonymous - 27/11/2004 22:17

Hi I joined and found the website interesting. I saw the horror pics of 2 female and the reason why I want to open up and to speak out about cocaine. I have a son who is 16 yrs old and his behaviour is out of controle. He smoked hash and sniffing petrol, hair spray elts. He was always in trouble with the law and we are getting fed up. I was told to check his room daily for illigal stuff and we were in shock when we found a small plastic bag filled with cocaine.We got worried sick and decided to call the Garda to help us. Can I ask for your views did we do the right thing calling the Garda! What shall we do. I dont want me son to be like the one of the horror pic. Please help!

blaggarde - 27/11/2004 22:26

I'm not in favour of terrorising the population as a matter of public policy.

Anonymous - 29/11/2004 09:27

Cocaine (and addiction in general) is already terrorising the population. Maybe showing its true effects will help prevent it.

blaggarde - 01/12/2004 01:16

So i take it then that you're in favour of terrorising the population as a mater of public policy, because you think cocaine (and addiction in general) is terrorising the population and yours is the way to go ?

Anonymous - 01/12/2004 09:37

Which do YOU think is worse, people, families and sometimes entire communities ravaged by the terror and sometimes living nightmare of cocaine addiction or a few "terrorising" (as you call them) photos. If photos like these get home the message to even 10% of potential addicts and saves them from what is in the majority of cases, a life-sentence, is it not worth it to show them?

bobby(OFZ21583) - 07/12/2004 06:44

Hello, I don't find these pictures all that disturbing. yes they are not all that nice to look at, but come on people, are we living on the same planet here. However, i agree that no matter how "shocking" the pic or story, most addicts are in fact that very thing...addicted. A couple pictures ain't going to solve what the real problem is. It becomes a way of life, like a much needed coffee in the morning. My example may seem unappropriate. My intentions are not to under estimate the severity of the drug. Because once the addict is in tunnel vision mode...ain't no picture of Penny gonna help. Sorry Folks. To the moth who wrote on the 27th...Your boy is on a dangerous road and desperatley needs you. No matter how many times he may deny you, he is actually screaming to get help. Just not with words.

Anonymous - 22/12/2004 17:10

My Partners daughter of 21 is taking Ecstasy on a regular basis. She lives a normal life for a girl of her age pub/cinema etc no raves or nightclubs always in work. My Partner is not sure how to approach the problem and feels that any drastic action might result in the problem worsening.

Anonymous - 22/12/2004 23:56

I don't think that our Gardia are doing enough to combat the drug trade.

Anonymous - 23/12/2004 00:05

The Drugs Trade is alive & well in Ireland, and in my opinion our government does nothing. Why are drug dealers allowed to operate in our cities,towns and villages?

Lisa(XMG26716) - 03/04/2005 18:53

photos, terrorizing? the way this woman looked terrorized people every day she came in contact with the general public, or NO, maybe I'm wrong, maybe they look fine, beautiful, maybe they are doing well financially, and their relationships with family and friends are superb...the photos...they are real life, NOT a scare tactic, real life that every user thinks, not me, I'll never get like that, do you think this way in these womens life dreams, how they imagined their fairy tale lives growing up? Anyone who thinks this is shock therapy should seek therapy, and figure out why facing reality is so difficult for them, good luck!!

Anonymous - 07/04/2005 10:53

I am currently researching the incresing use of Cocaine in the Limerick region over the last 5 years. I don't know where the women in these photographs are from but seeing the photographs of addicts that we have interviewed, what they looked like before this savage drug took hold of them, it is a reality that needs to be faced even in my county. There are services set up to help children as young as 14. How sad to say that the photographs are just shock tactics when I know it is a horrible reality that the people who are trying to help these people face everyday.

Anonymous - 29/08/2005 14:26

I would like to make a comment about the question "Why are drug dealers allowed to operate in our cities,towns and villages?" I don't think we can completely blame the Garda. In Irish society, we tend to turn a blind eye to criminals, fearing we may be known as a snitch, a rat or whatever. My younger brother became addicted to Heroin along with a number of his friends. I attempted to talk some of these individuals, including my brother, into contacting the Garda and have the pushers arrested. None of them would do so or tell me who the dealers were. When I pushed hard to get information to pass on to the Garda myself, I was excommunicated from the group. This was in 1999, since then I emigrated from Ireland and my brother finally kicked his Heroin habit by coming to live with me in Europe for 6 months. From '99 until now ( 5-6 years ), 2 of the group overdosed on Heroin and died and 2 others committed suicide, suffering from depression caused by many years using canabis, cocaine and heroin. To this day none of the group have contacted the Garda to give up the pushers. We as a society must look at drug pushers as the worst form of criminal and not be afraid to tell the Garda about their activities, they don't deserve to be protected. Would we stay quiet if we knew there was paedophile activity in our towns and villages? No, there would be no qualms about contacting Garda.

chris(MLH51137) - 28/08/2006 07:35

to answer a couple of questions i read on this list: these pictures come from portland, oregon in the united states. the multnomah county sheriff started an ongoing collection of mug shots of people arrested for methamphetamine, and then putting them on a timeline as you see. indeed, there are many men in the catalogue as well, not just women. one can see the whole catalogue if one searches for multomah county or portland oregon methamphetamine photos. one correction - all these photos are of methamphetamine users, not cocaine users. (trivia note: oregon has the worst methamphetamine problem of all the united states)

LouthChick - 28/08/2006 17:06

It's very sad to say 'shock tactics don't work'.I guess they don't work for everyone. But if they work for a few and they dont go down 'the road', hasn't it worked??? To answer why aren't the gardai doing anything?? Cos they're afraid of the big bad boys!!!!!!!!! It would be better if the government pumped money into 'Drug problems' in Ireland rather than some other things...

P - 20/12/2007 14:44

Those pics?? They must do an awful lot of cocaine to look like that??

Billybob - 20/12/2007 15:19

I would say that they are on Crystal Meth NOT cocaine. I've seen a lot of documentaries on CM and it ages people rapidly. The first girl in the photo actually looks like one of the people featured in the documentary. There was a recent seizure in Dublin which included meth. If this is now on our streets then this is very worrying as it makes people very very violent.

Anonymous - 20/12/2007 15:32

The people who "do an awful lot of cocaine" P, are sadly, dead.

P - 21/12/2007 09:22

I know a lot of people that do a lot of it every weekend non-stop and they dont look like that, i really think there is gonna be a huge clamp down soon..and the sooner the better!

fifi - 28/02/2008 18:25

Those picture send the message home alright. Those girls in the pictures are obviously heavily addicted and cant stop. Its so so sad the reality of addiction.

Papa - 29/02/2008 09:20

These shock tactics are a joke. They don't work purely cos lots of people know coke users, and they look nothing like that. IT's a modern day reefer madness government propaganda which won't make even a slight difference to anyone thats even thinking about using the drug. The ad is purely to keep the Joe Duffy listener type whinging auld ones happy.

P - 29/02/2008 14:43

I really think if people are curious about taking Coke they will, it doesn't matter what pics are shown or who dies from it!

nick(LZA69889) - 25/03/2008 05:08

You guys are scarier than anything! Do your research before you spread propaganda. These are time elapsed photos of methamphetamine users. It is painfuly obvious if you have ever been envolved on any real level other than from your closet, scared, at home. Be more aware. Knowledge is power, ignorance is deadly.I do not condone or promote cocaine use but to each their own. You are not helping the situation this way. People generaly do what they want and the best thing anybody can do is be informed (including yourselves). I find this apauling enough that I have now registered on to this website to voice a statement. Goodbye.

thomas(KOK73322) - 30/07/2008 15:24

i am an american so you know i'm going to have to have my say so. I'm not sure how things work overseas and really don't care, but i have a lot of freinds on coke, pot, speed, you name it i know someone. There is no reason that they are addicted they just didnt stop. Some of my freinds were just depressed, others were bored. I know a lot of people that have gotten really sick and nearly died, or either have passed away. Everyone should see what that shit does to you, and i for one appreciate who ever posted this site. Thank you...a nosey southern american...

tynalist - 11/07/2009 08:42

 Some of the faces of meth as they are called on the net are of men. Some people can or think they can stop for I am proof of that. As to the rest most do get addicted and are not lucky. Also when your nose is rotting with teeth and body runs down you are last to see it.

   Here is something with more info which was done by cops on the beat over time. This shows some of the people they ran into doing meth and what happened to them

omkar12 - 17/12/2011 07:53

Really very dangerous. These photos of addicted people are really very bad. People should see this and understand the side effects of Cocaine on health and body. The addiction of drugs not only affects on health but also on overall life.

Cocaine Addiction

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