The Diabetic Shambles Guide to Drugs

This post is a guest blog, by an anonymous T1. They wanted to share their experiences of using recreational drugs with Type 1 Diabetes – but we agreed to keep their identity a secret because while lots of people do this, it’s still illegal and can repercussions in the workplace. For general information on drugs – the Talk to Frank website is a pretty good source.

pacman_on_drugs_by_laurenfoolx_jpg_600×518_pixelsI am here to talk about a subject that I have almost never heard discussed in relational to type 1 diabetes, the controversial topic of recreational drug use.

This is a subject that most are probably too scared to discuss with fellow type 1s let alone a healthcare professional. I believe that more of us have done it at some point in our younger days than would admit to it. Although I am not ashamed of my previous drug taking I am choosing to stay anonymous as it’s still illegal, and I am in a professional role so not sure my honest blog of my former wreck head days is something I want the whole world and the Internet to read about. I am however an advocate for type 1 diabetes, and hoping my experiences can answer a few questions and can hopefully help others. I have lived with type 1 diabetes since I was a child and in my older teenage years and early 20s I was curious about trying new things and experiencing everything the world had to offer – the good and the bad. I didn’t want my long term health condition to get in the way of me having a good time. I was into the clubbing scene which has always had a huge drug culture and I was young and impressionable. At first I was nervous about how it would make me feel and the effect it would have on my blood sugar levels. However I was young and prepared to take the risks. I still had a feeling that I was invincible despite my diabetes. What did I take? Well being open minded I tried almost the full range – Ecstasy, Speed, MDMA, Weed, Cocaine, Acid, Ketamine, GHB and Mushrooms to name a few – drawing line at the harder stuff like heroin, crack and ice. I snorted, smoked and consumed my way through a large amount and during the whole time I had type 1. You might say that I am knowledgable enough to write this blog, and at times despite my memory being blurred at time I enjoyed my younger years and I am still alive and doing well with the ability to share my story.

How does it affect your blood sugar? 

Well like most things it effects people differently and can be combined with the multiple other factors that can both lower or lower blood sugars. I’d say that in my experience it doesn’t directly have an impact on blood sugars however you do need to be careful and aware of what’s going on and possible effects. Stimulant drugs like coke, MDMA, speed and ecstasy make you feel full of energy and things go at a much faster pace. This can cause hypo risks if you are doing things like dancing until the early hours. Hallucinates like Ketamine, Acid and Mushrooms you can loose awareness of reality and your surroundings. This has a risk of forgetting things like insulin and to test your blood sugars. Then there is Weed which we all knows gives you the munchies and along with it the risk of high blood sugar levels, especially if you forget to take your insulin or don’t take enough. Although drugs are risky and there is no way of knowing exactly what you are taking it is like alcohol something you can do things to make it as safe as possible.

Top Tips

Here are a few of my tips and words of wisdom:

  1. Don’t ignore your diabetes – keep your supplies with you to treat potential highs/lows.
  2. Do it with people you know and trust, those that can keep you safe if things go wrong.
  3. Know your limits – drugs have different strengths depending on their source. Don’t go overboard and assume you can handle large amounts.
  4. Stay hydrated.
  5. If dancing loads – have sugary/energy drinks and reduce insulin (I know the second part may be overlooked)
  6. Currently diabetes technology like insulin pumps and CGMs make it much easier to manage crazy lifestyles, however I was on MDI at the time so not huge issue.
  7. Stay safe. Drugs can be dangerous and if you combine with diabetes it adds another element of risk.

If anyone has specific questions or concerns then I am happy to be contacted directly through the awesome pair that are Kris and Clare.

5 thoughts on “The Diabetic Shambles Guide to Drugs

  1. I love the honesty of this post! No one ever talks about diabetes and drug use. I experienced as a teen/young adult and kept safe, but had no one to talk to about it.


  2. I’d like to say that I took a lot of pills and coke and they both raised my blood glucose levels. I stopped taking both after they put me into DKA because i was so battered I missed my long acting insulin. I think the safest advice is to keep testing your blood glucose levels if you choose to do any drugs, and not indulge to the point where you cant interpret the results. I was also told as a teenager by a diabetes reg that smoking pot would reduce my blood glucose levels. It masked my dawn phenomenon for the best part of a decade, but left me too spaced out for much else. I have to say, having thrown many a whitey and witnessed a fair few, they do look and feel an awful lot like a hypo and given that sugary food appears to be the best ‘fix’ for that……. I can only say that my experience of taking drugs is that they absolutely can have a direct impact on blood glucose levels. I would like to make sure no one misunderstands this comment as endorsement of use, its only intended to show that some individuals definitely can experience effects on blood glucose levels!

    Clinicians appear to think that any discussion about recreational drug use is an endorsement and the fact that we all live with T1 means that we are less likely to experiment. I have read research that suggests we are just as likely as our non D peers to indulge in risk taking behaviours of illicit drug and sexual natures and I personally think it remiss of them to not address this with patients.


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