After a failed suicide attempt, Simon Khung knew he had to seek help for his substance abuse issues.
“It was very miserable to wake up thinking how you want to die, how you can die and to always need to feed yourself with drugs, but you’re not happy anymore and you don’t get that high anymore,” said Mr Khung, who was stuck in a suicidal phase for two to three years.
Hooked on Drugs
The 34-year-old began taking drugs at 16 after watching some Hollywood movies and hanging out with some “cool kids” who took drugs.
Once, a “cool kid” asked if he wanted to head over to his house to try some drugs. He agreed.
They had marijuana. He remembers smoking a few puffs before heading out while laughing away happily.
Then, he started using drugs regularly to replicate the first “high” he experienced.
Mr Khung said: “All the hard drugs, … [I’ve tried] before already.” These include crystal meth, ketamine, ecstasy and heroin.
However, the subsequent “highs” were never the same, as his body had built up a tolerance to drugs. This made him take even more drugs.
In And Out of Jail
Mr Khung had his first brush with the law in 2015, when he assaulted someone while under the influence of drugs.
He recalled hallucinating while being “high” on drugs when he brought a knife to the void deck to “look for trouble”.
As a result, he was sentenced to seven months in jail for drug use and assault.
He was arrested two more times for the same offences, spending a total of three years behind bars.
When he was not in jail, Mr Khung was in and out of halfway houses.
He attempted suicide during his last relapse by drinking bleach, as he felt miserable about falling back to his old habits.
He recalled vomiting multiple times and feeling very dizzy. He thought he was going to die in his sleep, but he woke up a few hours later.
”It was also after this experience that I realised I really needed help [and that] I wouldn’t be as lucky the next time,” said Mr Khung.
In 2019, he checked himself into a halfway house called The New Charis Mission.
When he was there, he got to know others who also voluntarily checked themselves in to turn their lives around. He’s heartened that he was not alone. He said his faith in God helped him during his rebab too.
Still, having to endure the cold turkey was mentally and emotionally torturing for the first few months.
In a separate interview with Shin Min Daily News, Mr Khung said he was determined to change after his daughter’s tragic death in 2020.
“I’ve lost many opportunities in life due to drugs, I’ve lost family due to negligence, I’ve nearly lost my own life … And witnessing so many friends’ passing due to drugs, I’ve come to a stage where I know it only harms [and it’s] not even ‘shiok’ anymore,” he said.
Mr Khung finally recovered from drug addiction in 2021, after spending almost two years in rehab.
Becoming an anti-drug advocate
Now, he makes a living as a livestream auctioneer for I12Bid.
He also spends time making TikTok videos as simonboyyyyyyy for his 21,400 followers on TikTok.
Inspired by other former drug addicts who have shared their transformation stories on YouTube, he took to TikTok to advocate against drugs. He wanted to reach out to younger Singaporeans who might feel tempted as drug use becomes more prevalent in society today.
In some of his more popular TikTok videos, he shared his past as an ex-drug addict and ex-inmate and reenacted his experiences through skits.
“I want to use my story to go and touch life. I want to use my story to prove that and to show others that drug abusers can change,” said Mr Khung.
He also hopes that raising awareness will create a space for drug abusers and their family to share their troubles and receive advice and encouragement.
“Don’t ever think that no one understands what you’re going [through] and how much you’re suffering because I, Simonboy, really understand,” said Mr Khung.