COCAINE is more commonplace than booze at showbiz parties, while failed celebs are becoming drug dealers to the famous and desperate reality stars are even smuggling drugs onto TV.
This is the stark picture of drug use in the reality TV world, as revealed by a celebrity agent who has worked at the sharp end of the industry for more than a decade.
5 The anonymous agent has been to showbiz parties awash with cocaineCredit: Getty – Contributor
On condition of anonymity, the agent spoke to The Sun Online as part of our End Of The Line campaign, which is raising awareness of the devastating impact cocaine use can have on mental health.
A shocking 20 per cent of 16-to-24-year-olds admit to taking it in the past year, while cocaine use has doubled in the UK over the last five years.
Love Island’s Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon both had cocaine and alcohol in their systems when they killed themselves, while Jeremy McConnell opened up about being lavished with the drug at showbiz parties for our campaign earlier this week.
Now, the anonymous celebrity agent, who has worked with a string of big reality star names, speaks out about the prolific cocaine problem in the showbiz world.
5 Earlier this year an inquest heard that Mike Thalassitis took his life ‘after a cocaine and booze binge’Credit: ITV
Have you or your family been affected by cocaine? Tell us your story by emailing email@example.com
“I knew Mike and spent time with him, so as I heard about what happened my instant reaction was that it has to do with the fame. The same with Sophie. I’ve seen many people go through awful times after coming off these shows.
“It reminds me of Big Brother at the height of its popularity. You are used for public entertainment then spat out in the real world. You are massively famous without the pay check.
“Then gradually it fades and you have no purpose in life so you hit the bottle or the coke. The amount of clients I’ve had to send to psychologists and doctors due to anxiety, paranoia and depression is unreal.
“The problem is, cocaine is everywhere. Nine times out of ten – or maybe ten times out of ten – I’ll go to an event and see coke floating around.
5 Love Island’s Sophie Gradon had cocaine in her system when she killed herselfCredit: Rex Features
“My rules are, you can do that in your spare time, but not at work or when you’ve got work coming up.
“I’ve been on a photoshoot with someone who couldn’t get out of the loos.
“I’ve had stars who’ve been on a big night out and needed a few lines to get them in a state where they can go to their own book signing the next morning.
“I’ve known people smuggle drugs into reality shows by putting them up their bum, or taking in vitamins that weren’t vitamins, because they were so addicted.
“There are reality stars who are actually drug dealers to other celebrities. I’ve been at parties and I’ve seen someone who was on a reality show dealing coke to other ‘stars’.
5 Jeremy McConnell opened up about his cocaine use earlier this week, discussing how bad it got after he appeared on Celebrity Big BrotherCredit: Nick Obank – The Sun
“A lot of agents do coke and will do it with their clients. When reality stars go to nightclub appearances, within five minutes of turning up their agent will ask them if they want some gear.
“People that get reality stars to nightclub appearances want them to stay for longer than the contract says, so they’ll give them a bit of coke to get them in the party mood.
‘Coke’s become too normal’
“It takes the edge off what they’re doing, like self-medicating.
“A lot of people use cocaine or speed to lose weight. And when they’ve got a busy work schedule, people will take coke to keep them going, to keep them awake.
“It’s a weird world to walk into – they’ll go from being no-one to a someone really quickly, and then there’s the pressure to please people.
“I see them do cocaine to fit in – you’ll have people who’ve never touched a line of coke in their lives and would never dream of it, suddenly doing it to fit in with the crowd. They feel a pressure to be a certain way and cocaine gives them that confidence.
End Of The LineCocaine use is reaching epidemic levels in Britain, with the UK branded the ‘Coke capital’ of Europe.
Use has doubled in the last five years, and with young people the numbers are even worse.
A staggering one in five 16-to-24-year-olds have taken cocaine in the last year.
That’s why The Sun has launched its End Of The Line campaign, calling for more awareness around the drug.
Cocaine use can cause mental health problems such as anxiety and paranoia, while doctors have linked the rise in cheap, potent coke to an increase in suicide rates.
People from all walks of life, from builders and labourers to celebrities like Jeremy McConnell – who is backing our campaign – have fallen foul of its lure.
It’s an issue that is sweeping the UK and, unless its tackled now, means a mental health crisis is imminent.
Secret rehab stints
“Working with someone on cocaine is hard. It’s a constant battle, really, to try to get them to not take coke.
“The problem is that there’s always going to be a comedown, and when it happens, they don’t want to work. They’re too paranoid and all over the place.
“I think that drugs and alcohol are slowly chipping away at reality stars and [Sophie and Mike’s deaths] won’t be the last time we hear about cocaine being linked to tragedy like that.
“I know reality stars who’ve secretly gone to rehab, production companies who’ve sent people to rehab to sort them out.
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Help, support and advice
“The problem is, cocaine isn’t seen as a ‘bad’ drug at all. Everyone’s on coke, it’s completely normal, like having a glass of wine.
“It’s actually a shock when someone doesn’t do coke.
“I’ve heard of people who throw parties and don’t invite the people who don’t do drugs because they don’t want them to bring the mood down.
“I’ve known stars who will leave a party if there’s no gear around, telling me, ‘This is boring.’
“Before if someone got caught with cocaine in the press, it would be a career-ender. Now, it’s forgotten in two days, because as I say, it’s just completely accepted in showbiz and reality TV circles now.”
There is no suggestion that the agents of those specifically mentioned supplied cocaine.
Am I addicted to cocaine? The signs and symptoms of addictionCocaine is highly addictive and what can start out as a one-off can quickly turn into a habit.
Regular use of the drug changes the way the brain releases dopamine – a chemical in the brain that makes you feel happy.
But the high is short-lived so often users will take more to feel the desired effects again.
Over time, the body and brain can become too used to cocaine that it builds up a tolerance, which means you have to take more to feel the same high.
If you recognise any of the following behaviours in yourself, it might mean you’ve developed an addiction to cocaine:
You’re taking more of the drug to feel the effects
When you stop or reduce your dosage, you feel agitated, restless and depressed
You’re struggling to cut down or control how much you take, even if you try to
You spend a lot of time thinking about and trying to get cocaine
You’re disregarding family, friends and work in favour of taking cocaine
You know the damage it’s doing to you, but you can’t stop taking it
Jeremy McConnell: ‘Cocaine is the devil, it destroys lives, I feel sick when I look at the old me’