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Drug addicts need specialist help

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Specialist services are needed for drug addicts Specialist services are needed for drug addicts

There was recently a lot of coverage concerning Peaches Geldolf's untimely death. A similar media frenzy followed Amy Winehouse's death, and that of Peaches' mother Paula Yates in 2000. A young person's death is always a tragedy, but when they have a high public profile it takes on a ghoulish interest. No one knows exactly what happened but everyone has their opinion.

Celebrities live in the public eye, and they die in it too. All the ingredients are there for a real life drama; the excitement and pitfalls of living in the fast lane, the revolving door of visits to rehab and therapies.

The media feed speculation; perhaps they were depressed, or were having relationship problems. Perhaps they were troubled or grieving. They don't focus on what actually killed them, which is the easy access to and abuse of illegal drugs.

Health professionals deal daily with people who feel their lives are falling apart, individuals who have hit rock bottom. Thankfully at their time of desperation, most don't have easy access or the available finances to buy class A drugs.

Drug addiction is not glamorous. It wipes away all dignity and self-respect. It destroys families and relationships and most of all destroys free will. An addict's mind is shackled, fastened to where they'll get their next fix. Most drug addicts don't have glossy exciting lives, they have poverty, deprivation, physical and mental abuse, they are humiliated and left feeling worthless.

High profile individuals are vulnerable in that they have plenty of money, and are an easy target for drug dealers. It is a tragedy that these young talented women lost their lives because they had the money and the supply - whatever problems or 'issues' they endured, it was the drugs that ultimately killed them.

Bernadette Higgins is a practice nurse in Newcastle

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