20,000 drug capsules turns overdose victim into art
An Australian artist who created a portrait of ecstasy overdose victim Anna Wood using 20,000 empty pill casings has been flooded by an extraordinary outpouring of personal stories from young people who have lost friends, siblings and parents to drugs.
Anna's father Tony shared her story with Jazza during the planning of the video called "I try to make Art with nothing but DRUG CAPSULES". But not known for his views about drugs, Jazza admitted he expected the video to receive plenty of 'dislikes'.
"Some people are bound to be annoyed at me because they might think I don't have a right to talk about drugs on this channel," Jazza said.
Far from dislikes, what followed was simply extraordinary and highly emotional.
Thousands of young people shared intimate stories of losing friends and family members to drugs and the impacts drugs had had on their own lives.
More than 450,000 people (and counting) have already watched the video and more than 77,000 people have liked it. Just 1400 have hit the dislike button - drawing swift criticism from other YouTube Users.
This is just some of the near 5000 comments the video has already garnered.
"I was 13 when I lost my mom to an o/d, I'm only 14 today, and my mother's 11 month was yesterday," wrote Carrigan Lott.
Menya wrote: "This October I lost my friend. He was a drummer, living in the garage with two friends. They had a party and one guy bring (sic) stuff that they think was MDMA, but it wasn't. Two young man died just because they wasn't thinking about possible risks of using unknown substance."
Bri wrote: "My mom did meth, I lost my dad to heroin and I've seen friends overdose after one pill."
Kiera wrote: "My mum bought me the book 'Anna's Story' when I was in high school. I remember tearing up while reading it. Even though I never got involved in that kind of thing, her story always stuck with me."
Skye wrote: "This video has really opened my eyes. my friend does drugs and i cried watching this knowing she could die anyday. thank you, i will be helping my friend beat her addiction."
Many commenters said the "Art with Drugs" video has had such a profound effect their teachers had shown the clip at their school.
A father of two, Jazza was inspired to make the artwork after creating two videos for Newscorp's special series - The Ripple Effect - about the impacts of MDMA in Australia.
"The capsules are a small part of one big picture, and that big picture is meant to be a picture of what's most important to us all, what losing our young people does to parents, to friends, to families, to emergency workers, to school communities," he said.
He chose Anna Wood's portrait because she wasn't a drug addict. She was a 15-year-old who died in 1995 after taking one ecstasy tablet with friends.
"She died in 1995. She only took one pill. If she didn't take that pill she'd be 39 today," he said. "The pill wasn't contaminated, she didn't take more than one, she wasn't drinking alcohol, it was the same pill all her friends took that night, and they went home alive."
He said he hoped the video would spark a conversation about the risks of drugs so that young people could make better decisions.
"What I'm trying to do with my small part. is just start the conversation hopefully to get you some information," he told his viewers in the video
"Like the fact the reality of MDMA is, even if you know it's not contaminated, you're not going to be drinking alcohol, you have friends who say they'll look after you, there's simply no way of knowing how your body will react.
"There's no way of knowing you'll be safe. Honestly I want my kids to grow up in a world where they are able to understand the risks and dangers they'll eventually have to navigate on their own, as much as that scares me as a father."