At the age of 13, Alex becomes a member of a notorious youth gang. Tattooed pierced, known to the police and willing to resort to violence. As a young adult, who is consuming drugs on a regular basis, Alex starts taking heroin. When he starts running short of this addictive substance, he feels compelled to resort to other means. Burglary, theft and drug trafficking follow. While the business is flourishing for his dealers, everything goes rapidly downhill in his life. Only when he comes face to face with death, he starts realising. Late, but not too late.
Vividly and powerfully realistic Alexander Golfidis, ex-junkie and author of three books, describes in his autobiography "Der Heroin Schuster" the vicious circle of his 15 years of heroin addiction, which he managed to escape only with great effort. The series of lectures on drug education and drug prevention were held between 23rd and 27th February 2015 for Secondary School pupils of years 3.
Golfidis truly captivated his young audience by talking about his drug-related past and by reading relating passages from his autobiographical work, in which he describes the plain truth of his disturbing history of drug abuse and his life behind the seemingly flawless façade of Munich. The students listened intently to his testimony and eagerly asked him a lot of questions at the end of the presentation, especially on how the life stories of the people mentioned in the book had ultimately turned out. The Power-Point presentation with photos from his youth as drug addict was visually very graphic.
For several years, Golfidis has been running "Getaway e.V.", an association that also conducts drug education in schools, primarily based on the experience and insights of people affected. Authentic and emotionally moving!
Following the lecture series, the school social worker, Christiaan Dekker, organised a debriefing session for all classes who participated. He was assisted and supported by Sylvia Segerer Black, our school psychologist. The aim of this follow-up was to break down Golfidis' story to the reality of young people.
Specific topics were then elaborated and deepened as part of interactive exercises and talks. The educational work is based on the drug prevention programme "Sauba bleim" from the Bavarian police. For instance, students were asked to write down on post-its potentially addictive substances and behaviour patterns and attach them to one of the two wooden figures, labelled "addiction" and "pleasure". In this way, the students were able to realise that the line between pleasure and addiction is very thin. This reminded the 13-year-old Gloria of the proverb her father always mentions when he observes his daughter indulging in potentially addictive behaviour: "First you drink wine, then the wine drinks itself and later the wine drinks you."
The "addiction bag", filled with various items, made it clear that there is a whole range of things and activities in everyday life can lead to dependencies or cause illness, including computer games, smart phones, eating, losing weight, and of course alcohol and nicotine, to name but a few.
In the course of their lives, most young people come into contact with drugs and with activities, potentially creating mental dependencies, which they may consume or do out of boredom, curiosity or peer pressure. This makes it all the more important to raise awareness about the addictive potential and long-term consequences of drug use and specific behaviour patterns, helping young people to make the right decision at the right time. The unavoidable craving for a particular experience can destroy social bonds, prevent career opportunities and harm personal development. Students were also made aware that they can influence their own conduct and bring their lives on a healthy and favourable track by using the power of their reason and of their will.
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