"I am just so happy that I can sleep normally, it's such a relief to fall asleep without passing out because of drugs or alcohol."
View attachment 11023
Mikaila Tyhurst from Crumpsall in Manchester has been ravaged by the chemical gamma-butyrolactane (GBL), which is used as a party drug.
Her once pretty blonde looks are gone - instead what stares back is a gaunt face, puffy eyes and a toothless grimace.
She started taking GBL when she was just 18. Now she is trying to repair her life after losing four years to the drug.
She has been receiving treatment in The Priory, a rehabilitation clinic.
As she recovers, the 22-year-old says: "I am never going back there again."
At 18 she had dreams of becoming an air stewardess, but now she is simply happy to get a sleep not induced by drugs.
"I was scared of the withdrawal symptoms, I was terrified that the shakes were going to start. And when the shakes start then the hallucinations follow.
"When I first arrived in the Priory I was quiet and I was a bit nervous, but after that I started to love it.
"It was nice in there and I enjoyed being in there at the same time I was getting help, but it's going to be a difficult road."
The mother-of-one went to workshops about the effects of alcohol and talked about her experiences with former addicts.
"I used to just pass out after I had drank too much or taken too many drugs. I used to sleep anywhere.
"Now I put my pyjamas on and go to bed."
Her front teeth were knocked out in a drug-induced fall, she has liver damage and four months ago she nearly died of an overdose.
She took the drug almost every day for four years.
GBL is an industrial solvent and there is no law against possessing it.
However, when swallowed it behaves like the banned drug GHB. It can make user feel euphoric, but it highly addictive and can also cause unpleasant effects including unconsciousness, muscle spasms and vomiting.
Beating the habit is not easy, with extreme anxiety, nausea and hallucinations all possible.
Despite this, she is determined to conquer her addiction.
"If I ever think about having some GBL or some drink, I just have to think, 'What's another bottle? How is that going to help? I'll drink that and then I'll be back in the same place'.
"I want to spend time with my little girl."
Following campaigns from by who have lost loved ones to GBL, Home Secretary Alan Johnson has said he wants to tackle the problems around such chemicals.
He said: "There is a perception that many of the so-called legal highs are harmless.
"However, in some cases people can be ingesting dangerous industrial fluids or smoking chemicals that can be even more harmful than cannabis."
October 6, 2009
Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.
Mikaila Tyhurst (girl ravaged by the chemical GBL) says she enjoyed her time in rehab