Sarah on regular rapes and her addiction to herbs

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Of: Tanya Kipke


At the age of 17, Sarah M. crashed into the drug scene in Munich. The photo was taken at that time. Sarah M. looks different today. © private/IMAGO (archive image/montage)

A drug addict gives an in-depth insight into the Munich drug scene and the dangers of “herb” addiction. She calls on the government to act.

Munich – “I always panicked before injecting heroin. If you inject air, you’re dead”: Sarah M., now 18, lived for three months in the Munich drug scene around the main train station. Whether it’s heroin, crystal meth or “mixed herbs”, Sarah has tried it all. “I consumed almost every hour. Herbs and Lyrica (analgesics editor’s note), if I had heroin, I did it”, she confides in an interview with

Munich drug scene at the main train station: Sarah M. was right in the middle

Sarah now wears her hair dark black. In the photos from last spring, they are still blue. A nose piercing adorns her narrow face, her arms are full of white lines. “Split and squirt heroin,” she explains. We are sitting outside in the sun in a Bavarian restaurant. Their scars turn white in the sun. Sarah starts talking right away. “I came here and was immediately asked if I wanted herbs.” It points to the corner Arnulfstraße/Seidlstraße. The temptation was great, luckily she was able to resist it. At least today.

Sarah M. started using drugs when she was 15 years old.
Sarah M. during her nightmare on the drug scene in Munich. She first took illicit drugs when she was 15. © Sarah M.

Before our appointment, Sarah M. bought her painkillers from a pensioner at Sendlinger Tor

It is still not completely “clean”. “I’ll be honest, I’m still using,” she admits, pulling a pack of pills out of her pocket. “I took two Lyrica earlier.” She bought the prescription painkillers from a Sendlinger Tor retiree. “I was taking five, it’s like heroin.” Despite the drugs, she seems serene. Determined to tell her story. “It makes me so angry that the drug problem in Munich is so suppressed.”

Drug problem in Bavaria: one person dies every day and a half

Every day and a half someone in Bavaria dies from illegal drugs. According to police crime statistics, there were 255 people in 2021. Seven more than the previous year. According to Josef Strohbach of the Condrobs drug addiction help in Munich, the main reason is taking different drugs at the same time. “These people are rarely addicted to a single substance, and they don’t die from that single substance, but mostly from polydrug use,” he says. “It can then be fatal.”

Sarah suspects that some of her old people are already dead. Her hands shake slightly when she talks about it. “I don’t know how many are still alive here, the people from before are all gone.” Disappeared or dead? Sarah doesn’t know. However, she is convinced that no one would find the bodies in the parking lots anyway.

Sarah takes drugs while at the clinic in Munich

At the age of 13, Sarah began to harm herself because a close confidant sexually assaulted her. She is sent to a clinic because of suicidal thoughts. After a suicide attempt, she finds herself in a Munich clinic, the Heckscher Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. There, after being released into a shelter, she started using at the age of 15. Drugs, a “solution” she desperately sought. “It was so nice that I could get high. She smiled sadly.

Sarah was also often at the Heckscher Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Munich.
Sarah was also often at the Heckscher Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Munich. © IMAGO

Sarah is housed in different clinics, lives in different shelters. Again and again she sneaks around and spends several weeks in a row on the streets. At first, Sarah uses alcohol and cannabis. The high makes her feel safe. One day, she cannot reach her dealer. To get cannabis, she goes to Schillerstrasse. She had heard of the call of the “drug street”. “They laughed at me and said they only sell herbs here, so I bought this.” She takes way too much. “I couldn’t get up, I couldn’t move.”

“Herbal mixtures” one of the most dangerous drugs?

The “herbal mixtures” are therefore the hardest drug for Sarah. “I also injected heroin, which is also blatant, but the body does not get used to the herbs, it is more violent each time,” said a spokesperson for the health department. Munich. on claim that they are “mixtures of plant parts which have been mixed with artificially produced active ingredients – mainly synthetic cannabinoids – and the exact ingredients of which are not known”. Strohbach of Condrobs can confirm this. This is exactly why the drug is so dangerous, because you never know exactly what you are actually taking.

Sarah bought the illegal drugs on Schillerstrasse in Munich's station district.
Sarah bought the illegal drugs on Schillerstrasse in Munich’s station district. © Heinz Gebhardt/IMAGO

Sarah M: “I then prostituted myself in the parking lot”

Due to her addiction, Sarah is experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms. “Sometimes I couldn’t walk, I had stomach cramps and I was in the hospital once.” At some point, she needed it more and more. “You say yes to everything, you can no longer defend yourself. During this time, she was often sexually abused. Once she called a dealer who promised her some herbs. “Then he raped me in a container in a field.” Another traumatic experience, through which she falls more and more into the drug world.

Little by little, she runs out of money. “I then prostituted myself in the parking lot, sometimes for 20 euros.” And it was only to get herbs – she was 17 at the time. Sarah is disgusted with herself.

“I then prostituted myself in the parking lot, sometimes for 20 euros.”

Drug addicts hide in parking lots in Munich

Last year, Sarah met a man. He rapes her, but since he has herbs, she stays with him. Sometimes ten of them lived in a one-room apartment. “We had no money and almost no food.” The apartment was dirty and full of bugs and maggots. “You don’t know that when you take herbs, you don’t care. You become a beetle yourself.” She speaks of that time with disgust. “When we ran out, we used tweezers to search for herbs on the carpet.”

Many consume in Munich in parking lots or underground garages, in addition to vomit and urine. By eliminating the drug problem, users would hide in parking lots. Drug dealers and patrons rape minors there, like Sarah did a year ago. It therefore calls on the government to act.

Drug consumption rooms a solution? Bavaria refuses

Sarah would like the police to openly acknowledge the problem “that people talk about it”. You don’t have to suffocate it. Additionally, drug consumption rooms, also known as fixer rooms, would be helpful. There, drug addicts can bring their drugs with them and consume them on the spot. They also receive clean cutlery and medical supervision. Sharing an injection with another woman, Sarah caught hepatitis C. Rooms like this could have prevented that.

“Experiences from other cities and scientific studies show that drug consumption rooms are suitable for preventing drug-related deaths,” says the health department spokesperson. The city of Munich would like to create such spaces, as confirmed by Strohbach and the health department. However, the decision belongs to the state level, the Bavarian state government refuses.

Video: Prostitution and arms trade: Bavaria fights against organized crime

Sarah Attempts a Fresh Start – “I Have a Goal”

Once, police caught Sarah with heroin. His punishment: six months of family counselling, six months of drug counseling. “It’s nice to have someone to talk to.” She has now denounced her ex-boyfriend, who is currently in police custody for rape.

Sarah moved back in with her mother and went to rehab. Now she wants to catch up on her baccalaureate via correspondence school and dare to start again in another city. where no one knows her. “It’s a stop for me because I have a goal,” she said She wants to train as a landscape gardener and eventually work as a “street worker” to get minors out of the drug world. “There are so many young people in the scene, with so much potential.” Once she has the strength and is completely clean, Sarah wants to help. (tkip)

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