Pain relief didn’t work on my boyfriend after taking cocaine at a festival

When Sophie* went to a festival, she didn't expect to end up in a medical tent after her boyfriend took cocaine and dislocated his shoulder. She tells The Mix about what happened and the lessons she learned.

True Stories

couple cuddling at a festival

Drugs might be fun, but things can suddenly go wrong

My boyfriend Ross* and I have been together for four years and met each other at uni. We started experimenting with drugs during Freshers – I know, what stereotypes – and still take them now, especially at parties. But we’re sensible, well-educated, and know our limits.

We took our usual amount of drugs

Bournemouth 7s is a rugby festival held over a long weekend in Bournemouth at the start of every summer. There are a loads of rugby games during the day, and then huge parties at night. There’s live music, lots of drinking, festival vibes and, of course, drugs.

We go every year with a bunch of friends and Ross bought his usual amount of drugs from his dealer. I took some too, but it affects my anxiety so I never have much.

We had an ace night dancing, drinking, and having fun. Just like we do every year.

When it was time to go, we went to get in a mate’s car. Ross had trouble opening the door and, with all the yanking, he ended up pulling his shoulder out of its joint.

I panicked about the mix of cocaine and strong pain relief

He’s dislocated his shoulder quite a few times before, to the point where now he can usually pop it back in himself. It’s gross, but it works. But this time his shoulder had actually dropped down. Ross ended up on the floor crying in pain. I’d never seen anything like it, it was horrible.

We managed to get him laid down on the backseat and drove him right to the entrance of the festival. I jumped out the car and ran shouting for a member of staff to call an ambulance, which arrived within minutes.

The paramedics took us to the medical tent and tried to put Ross’ shoulder back in with just gas and air as pain relief, but by this point he was screaming in pain, and so was I. They were about to try and hook him up to morphine which, along with seeing him so distressed, triggered a panic attack in me. I was taken outside the tent to calm down. I then told one of the paramedics about the cocaine.

This is the drug that killed Michael Jackson

I immediately thought that the police would be involved and that we’d be treated differently by the paramedics, but that wasn’t the case at all. Instead, they told me everything would be ok and asked me to explain what he’d taken, how much and how long ago.

Because of the cocaine, Ross’ body wouldn’t respond to the morphine so they told me they were going to try propofol, a strong sedative. They said it was the drug that killed Michael Jackson, which wasn’t helpful at all. I was told I “wouldn’t want to see this” so I stayed outside and tried to stay calm. I had to trust the paramedics.

Ross continued screaming in pain so I figured the propofol didn’t work either. His shoulder had now been out for over an hour and a dislocation should be fixed in 15-20 minutes. The paramedics had no choice but to desperately try and continue to fix it with no pain relief at all.

It was a wakeup call

Finally, it happened. His shoulder was back in, but Ross was exhausted from the trauma so his recovery took a while. We ended up spending five hours in A&E the next day while he was examined again.

It was a nasty dislocation to start with, but the constant pulling knackered his joint and muscles, and all the different attempts at pain relief didn’t do him any good.

Ross still takes drugs, but the experience was definitely a lesson learnt in how horribly it can affect you if something goes wrong. I’d quite like to wrap him in bubble wrap constantly now.

If you’ve taken drugs, please remember exactly what you (and your friends) have taken and how much. Just in case. Always be honest with people trying to help if something goes wrong. Oh, and don’t yank on a dodgy car door.

If you need support with anything drugs-related, you can:

*Names changed

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Updated on 04-Jul-2017