Film showing Valleys drugs blight premiered in Brynmawr

Film showing Valleys drugs blight premiered in Brynmawr

A still from the film The Good Drug Dealer

The film's director/producer Peter Watkins-Hughes with actor Darren Evans

First published in News
Last updated

A FILM depicting the devastating effect of mephedrone, or "miaow miaow", on Valleys communities had its world premiere at Brynmawr's Market Hall cinema tonight.

Starring well known faces Darren Evans, 24, who plays "Danny Two Hats" in My Mad Fat Diary and Newport's Gareth David Lloyd, who played Ianto in Torchwood, the film tells the story of a drug dealer who recruits a younger apprentice to push mephedrone, marketing at teenagers.

Directed by Welsh BAFTA winner Peter Watkins-Hughes, "The Good Drug Dealer" comes from research of real trends in Wales. It ends in tragedy as the drugs industry claims the lives of both its dealers. Mr Watkins-Hughes interviewed local dealers, drug users and drug workers before working on the hour long film, which will be available to schools as part of PSE lessons.

He described visiting a class of twelve children fourteen and under, and ten of them saying they had tried mephedrone, which was made illegal last year. The use of the drug in Gwent was investigated in a special series of articles in the Argus in 2013.

Mr Watkins-Hughes, from Brynmawr, said: "The reality is it's cheaper and easier for a young person to source drugs, particularly miao miaow, than to get drunk with alcohol. It's an epidemic sweeping South Wales and nobody wants to talk about it."

Jack Sexton, 20, from Sirhowy, says he was one of the first people to start dealing mephedrone in Tredegar when he was 16, selling it for almost two years. He described becoming a "recluse weirdo" who didn't want to go outside and said he tried to kill himself several times. Now clean of the drug he says it "ruined" his life and is now urging others to avoid the drug.

Darren Evans, from Tredegar, who plays 16 year old dealer Spacey in the film, described seeing the effects first-hand: "I know some boys I was in school with and they're not the same boys now. It's hard to describe. From what I have seen it's more of a mental thing. They're just gone, don't know where they're going, who they even are.

"Everybody knows the places you can go to get a fix. It's like popping down to your local baker to get something.

"I always think, if I can at least make one person sit up and take notice then I'll think it's a good job well done."

Gareth David Lloyd, 32, plays experienced dealer Owen in the film. He said: "Kids as young as ten and eleven are being sold it on street corners. Being a father of two, that terrifies me."

The film was funded by donations after local young people came to councillors with concerns. Councillor Haydn Trollope estimates it cost around £20,000, with £5,000 of this from the Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner's Partnership Fund.

Cllr Trollope launched the project alongside two other Blaenau Gwent councillors from Tredegar. have also been driving the project, and initially set up a multi-agency group to look at the impact of synthetic drugs in local communities and how these issues can be addressed.

The film comes off the back of a campaign by former Tredegar Comprehensive teacher Jeff O'Reilly, who campaigned to get meow meow (also known as mkat) banned as a legal high.

The group grew to include Blaenau Gwent Council, Caerphilly County Borough Council, Tai Calon Community Housing, Community Safety Partnerships, Gwent Police and members of the local community.

Any proceeds from the film will be re-invested to local charity PACE (People and Communities Engaged).

The Good Drug Dealer premiered at Brynmawr's Market Hall Cinema.

Comments (7)

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10:04pm Thu 16 Jan 14

jimmysmith says...

Drug abuse in south wales is a taboo subject .the police and politicians prefer to act as its not happening .when in reality its out of control .theres a huge increase in crime and excessive violence within our communities as a direct result of miaow miaow and anabolic steroid misuse. its high time the police especially had a huge crack down on dealers etc and the courts imposed more severe punishments.especial
ly where children are being targeted by these scum bags
Drug abuse in south wales is a taboo subject .the police and politicians prefer to act as its not happening .when in reality its out of control .theres a huge increase in crime and excessive violence within our communities as a direct result of miaow miaow and anabolic steroid misuse. its high time the police especially had a huge crack down on dealers etc and the courts imposed more severe punishments.especial ly where children are being targeted by these scum bags jimmysmith
  • Score: 4

3:08am Fri 17 Jan 14

gathin says...

I can't believe that you've told us that they both die in the end!
The production company should sue you as you've probably caused lots of people not to bother watching the film thus caused a lack of revenue.
Good reporting from the argus (as usual).
I can't believe that you've told us that they both die in the end! The production company should sue you as you've probably caused lots of people not to bother watching the film thus caused a lack of revenue. Good reporting from the argus (as usual). gathin
  • Score: 6

5:36am Fri 17 Jan 14

FreddyF says...

Prohibition doesn't work and is more harmful than the drugs. Scaremongering propaganda films have been found not to work.
Prohibition doesn't work and is more harmful than the drugs. Scaremongering propaganda films have been found not to work. FreddyF
  • Score: -2

8:15pm Fri 17 Jan 14

HaydnT2000 says...

This is not scaremongering this Is factual from the youngsters, users, and dealers we spent 18 months researching this, the youths made us promise it would be realistic, not no more nor less just what our research told us, like I said before if we save one life it was worth it
This is not scaremongering this Is factual from the youngsters, users, and dealers we spent 18 months researching this, the youths made us promise it would be realistic, not no more nor less just what our research told us, like I said before if we save one life it was worth it HaydnT2000
  • Score: 6

10:59pm Sat 18 Jan 14

LB0724 says...

This looks like it's an excellent project. I see in the article that proceeds earned will be put back into the charity PACE. Is there a way to purchase this movie via DVD or online streaming for those who are outside of the UK? I have teenagers and an 8 year old who I'd love to show it to. I realize that different demographics will include different products or drugs but the lesson to be learned is the same.
This looks like it's an excellent project. I see in the article that proceeds earned will be put back into the charity PACE. Is there a way to purchase this movie via DVD or online streaming for those who are outside of the UK? I have teenagers and an 8 year old who I'd love to show it to. I realize that different demographics will include different products or drugs but the lesson to be learned is the same. LB0724
  • Score: 2

7:03am Sun 19 Jan 14

HaydnT2000 says...

In time yes, but we are hoping the BBC will use it on main stream tv first, then it will be going out to schools in gwent free of charge, then all wales, my email address is hayden.trollope@blae
nau-gwent.gov.uk if you contact me I will see what I can do
In time yes, but we are hoping the BBC will use it on main stream tv first, then it will be going out to schools in gwent free of charge, then all wales, my email address is hayden.trollope@blae nau-gwent.gov.uk if you contact me I will see what I can do HaydnT2000
  • Score: 2

3:47pm Sun 19 Jan 14

LB0724 says...

Thank you HaydnT2000. I've made note of your email and will be in touch. I appreciate the information and just want to let you know what a wonderful project this truly is. I'm in the US and I've not seen this type of initiative for my children and do live in an area where drugs and alcohol use among teens is rising at an alarming rate.
Thank you HaydnT2000. I've made note of your email and will be in touch. I appreciate the information and just want to let you know what a wonderful project this truly is. I'm in the US and I've not seen this type of initiative for my children and do live in an area where drugs and alcohol use among teens is rising at an alarming rate. LB0724
  • Score: 0

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