We Spoke to a Former Crack Addict About Rob Ford
"People don’t decide to have a glass of wine with dinner and then go buy a bag of crack."
Rob Ford learning about culture. Sobriety in question, via.
As everyone in Toronto (and now the planet) knows, Mayor Rob Ford has been accused of smoking crack cocaine. There's apparently video evidence of him getting high while talking shit about Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau and immigrants. But the world still hasn’t seen that video and Rob hasn't officially addressed the issue. And while Gawker’s crowd-funded Indiegogo campaign to raise money to buy the iPhone footage from the drug dealers who took it is closing in on its $200,000 goal, they can’t even find the aforementioned drug dealers. On top of all that, Mark Towhey, Robbie’s former chief of staff, was fired for telling him to “get help”.
With all of this insane bullshit clouding Toronto’s municipal politics, we decided to talk to someone who knows firsthand what crack addiction and crack smoking looks like: a former crack addict named Rick. Here’s what he thinks of the allegations against poor ol’ Robbie.
VICE: Like everyone else, you’ve heard the story of Rob Ford’s crack video by now. Do you think the mayor could be a crack smoker?
Rick: If you’re asking my opinion, I suppose it’s possible that he might have tried it, but there is no way he is a crack addict. I will go out on a limb and say it is impossible to be a crack addict and maintain any kind of lifestyle, let alone be a mayor. I doubt he’s even a drug addict at all.
Can people smoke crack casually?
No. I don’t think so. I’ve never heard of a casual crack smoker. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but I’ve never heard of it.
Would crack ever be the first drug people use?
[laughs] No. Absolutely not. Usually people don’t move right to crack cocaine. People like the mayor don’t decide to have a glass of wine with dinner and then go buy a bag of crack. It doesn’t usually go that way. I know it’s readily available and cheap, but you aren’t just trying it with your friends out of nowhere when you’ve never touched another drug.
So do you think it’s safe to say that the mayor, if he has smoked crack, would have had problems with drugs before this?
Yes. I mean, I can’t say for sure, because I don’t know the guy, but it’s very likely that there would be a history of drug abuse.
How would someone on crack behave?
Crack makes you extremely paranoid. In no way do I believe the mayor is leaving City Hall and going into the garage and looking over his shoulders and smoking crack. [laughs] It’s just not happening. There is honestly, very severe paranoia associated to being high on crack – and the more you smoke, the more paranoid you get. To me, it just doesn’t seem like he is walking around like he’s paranoid. If anything, he walks around pretty calm.
I’ve never smoked crack, what’s it like?
Well, immediately, you are super alert and super anxious. You’re off your chair and you’re walking around, you’re not leaning back in it. You’re paranoid. Someone who has just smoked crack is not relaxing in any chair. Trust me, it never happens like that.
So you’re not calm and talking coolly about life?
Is it possible that someone could smoke crack and then engage in a conversation about things like political figures or sports teams?
Absolutely not. For a while after, you’re not saying anything. Maybe 40 minutes or an hour later, but not right away. You aren’t saying anything when you first smoke. You’re silent. If they are saying Ford was holding the pipe and talking about Trudeau, it wasn’t crack in that pipe. Maybe it was something else. It’s highly unlikely that it was crack. It’s possible that later on, after having a couple beers, sure, you can talk about stuff. But it takes time.
From your experience, if someone is smoking crack, how does his behaviour change and how does it affect his life?
Eventually you will lose everything: your family, your friends, your job. Everything. You will sell everything, lose all your money, for sure. Nothing else matters but the drug. You become a totally different person. You lose everything. Guaranteed. That’s the nature of a crack addiction.
How quickly could this change in a person start to occur?
Crack addiction happens pretty fast. If someone has started smoking crack, it won’t be long before everyone around them is aware this person has become completely different. Lying, sneaking around, stealing. It’s not an addiction that you can maintain without people noticing… not for long, anyways.
What are some tell-tale signs that people could look for if they suspect someone is smoking crack?
Well, there are lots of things. Showing up late, being unreliable, lying. But the only real, and truly physical, sign that someone is smoking crack is a total loss of weight. Crack will make you lose weight, guaranteed. I joke now with my friends that when I smoked crack, I never had a potbelly. [laughs]
If you could say anything to mayor Ford right now, what would it be?
I couldn’t say much. Like everyone else, I really don’t have enough information. We don’t know if it was crack or if it was even Ford. I think we should really all be sticking to the golden rule: innocent until proven guilty.
Follow Angela on Twitter: @angelamaries