Pain relief didn’t work after taking cocaine

One minute, you can be having an awesome trip and the next you could end up in A&E with 10 broken bones. That’s what happened to Sophie*. When she 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

Three young women are sitting on couches. Two young women are facing the camera, listening to their friend. She is recalling her boyfriend taking pain relief on cocaine. This is a wide-angle image.

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, pretty cliché– and still take them now, especially at parties. But we’re sensible, well-educated, and know our limits. But one night, he had to use pain relief after taking cocaine and things didn’t go well.

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 loads of rugby games during the day, and then huge parties at night. These include 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 epic night dancing, drinking, and having fun. Just like we do every year.

When it was time to go, we got a ride with a mate. Ross had trouble opening the door and, after all the yanking, he ended up pulling his shoulder out of its joint.

I panicked about the strong pain relief after taking cocaine 

He’s dislocated his shoulder quite a few times before. At this point, he can actually just 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 of the car and yelled 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. The whole time 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.

They were still trying pain relief (the drug that killed MJ) after taking cocaine

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. 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 continue to fix it with no pain relief at all.

It was a wake–up call 

Finally, it happened. His shoulder was back in. 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. The different attempts at pain relief didn’t do him any good either.

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 make him a bubble-wrap suit for when he’s tripping.

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 at a festival.

A message from The Mix

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*Names changed

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drug risks

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 20-Aug-2021