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Cllr Fred Osborne, Cllr Ted Eden, Paul Hannaford and Daren Mulley
AROUND 19,000 youngsters across Havering have now been forced to think twice about using drugs, thanks to hard hitting talks by a former addict. Pupils in senior and primary schools have been given stern warnings on the perils of narcotics.
Paul Hannaford, 40, was addicted to heroin and crack cocaine for fifteen years, and spent around £1million on substance abuse. He said he has lost count of the number of funerals he has attended from people who've passed away because of drugs.
The YA trailblazed Paul's crusade when he first began delivering the talks in May 2009.
He said: "If I can save some lives from doing these talks, which are highly effective, then I'll be happy.
"Since I've been doing the talks, I've had kids come up to me in the streets and tell me that they have not wanted to take drugs because of my brutal talks. Parents come up to me in tears saying thank you for putting their children off drugs. Unfortunately drug use is now very very common and not all parents realise this until its too late."
Havering council's Drug and Alchol Team (DAAT) are leading the way with the hard hitting approach.
Popular tv programme GMTV has asked DAAT to film Paul in action at a local school.
Similar schemes could be rolled out by other London boroughs later this year.
Paul added: "The message is hard, I show them my open wound that hasn't healed in seven years. I had to have 3,000 maggots applied to eat the bacteria.
"Most of my veins have collapsed and I have to wear pressure bandages to make sure the blood keeps flowing."
Daren Mulley, from Havering's Drug and Alchohol Team (DAAT), says their hard hitting approach is far more effective than merely handing out leaflets advising youngsters to stay away from drugs
Chairman of Havering Health and Overview Committee, Councillor Ted Eden, said: "It's good that some of the children are upset by these strong messages as they are being put off using drugs which can have tragic consequences.
"Paul has become a wonderful man."
Yellow Advertiser 23.09.09
HUNDREDS of youngsters have vowed to say no to drugs after a former drug addict shared his horrific experiences of Heroin use. Around 300 pupils at the prestigious Coopers Coburn school in Upminster were given a talk by Paul Hannaford, 40, who was addicted to heroin for 15 years.
Government research shows people are more likely to become involved with drugs once they are old enough to enjoy nightlife after leaving school. After Paul gave his talk, pupils told teachers and the Yellow Advertiser they were so horrified with the reality of drug abuse, they would avoid them at all costs.
Havering council's Drug and Alchol Team (DAT) are leading the way with the hard hitting approach. Similar schemes could be rolled out by other London boroughs next year. The pupils gasped in horror, when Paul showed them an open wound that still pains him, caused by syringes, six years after he stopped using the drug.
Paul explained he had to have 3,000 maggots applied to the open wound to eat bacteria. DAT believe their hard hitting approach is far more effective than merely handing out leaflets advising youngsters to stay away from narcotics.
And, the youngsters heartily agreed. Errol Kiani, 16, who plans to become a property developer said: "You hear that drugs are bad for you on television, or you may get a talk from someone about drugs who hasnt actually had first hand experience of them, so what happens is you just think, yea ok, then forget about it very quickly afterwards.
"The talk today was very different, but it really hits home when you have someone standing in front of you sharing their experiences with you.
"Paul's talk has been far more effective at putting us all of heroin." Annabelle Miles, 16, who plans to be an architect, said: "I was horrified to learn that Paul still has trouble with his leg, and that he had to have 3,000 maggots applied to the wound to eat the bacteria.
"I definitely wouldnt go near heroin." Ashley Agwincha, 16, who hopes to become a doctor, said: "I was really saddened to hear that a man died in Paul's arms – I found the whole speech very emotional.
"Also, the fact that his dug habit meant he was very emaciated was horrible."
Jessica Stares, who hopes to become a teacher said: "I felt sorry for Paul's family. The drugs made him behave in such a desperate way that he hurt them so much. I think it's commendable that he found the strength to turn his life around as most people who are heavy heroin users end up dying."
Megan Weddle, 16, who hopes to become a psychiatrist said: "The fact that he injected into his penis was terrible, it just shows you the level of desperation this awful drug pushes you to.
"After listening to Paul, not only are you put off drugs, you feel proud of him for not losing his life to it."
Louise Lee, 16, who hopes to become a banker, said: "I thought about how the heroin abuse affected Paul's family. Heroin robbed him of his whole life for 15 years, he would have to spend all the time working out ways to get the money.
"I have definitely been put off."
Head of Year at Coopers, Sandra Bunting praised the harrowing speech, she said: "I think Paul has done a fabulous job explaining how his life went wrong when he started taking drugs. "The pupils were so engaged in what he was saying, because he is real."
HUNDREDS of youngsters have vowed to say no to drugs after a former drug addict shared his shocking experiences of using Class A drugs. He began smoking cannabis at the age of 13 and over a period of eight years tried other drugs before finally succumbing to the evils of heroin and crack cocaine for 15years.
Last week, around 300 pupils at Coopers Coburn school in Upminster were given a talk by Paul and the pupils gasped in horror, when Paul showed them an open wound in his leg that still pains him, caused by injecting a cocktail of heroin and crack cocaine up to 100 times a day. With warrants out for his arrest, Paul finally gave himself up to the Police and begged them to lock him up. After 3 years in hospital and treatment, Paul is now in recovery and has not used drugs for six years.
Havering Council's Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) and Young Addaction Havering, the local drugs and alcohol service for young people under 18, are leading the way with this hard hitting approach and have received invitations from a range of other local schools in Havering including Kingswood School, Redden Court and Brittons School.
If you live in Havering and you're concerned about your child using drugs or alcohol or you just want to know more about the effects of drugs and alcohol, please contact Young Addaction Havering on 01708 433342 (Monday – Friday). If you want to know more about Paul Hannaford's work, please contact Daren Mulley at the DAAT on 01708 434280.