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Anti drugs talk filmed by former students for TV documentary

Former drug addict Paul Hannaford gave a brutally honest account of his early life involved in drugs, knife crime and gangs during a presentation to students.

Paul, who is a reformed character and now visits schools and colleges up and down the country to educate students about the dangers of drugs, was filmed for a documentary as he spoke about his spiral into drugs and gangs as a teenager.

The documentary is being made by former Havering Sixth Form College students Nick West and Joe Trodd for their independent TV production company and will be put out for commissioning to TV channels later this year. The former Media and Film Studies students, who left College in 2012, are making the documentary with other film-makers about the UK’s drug policy and whether prohibition works.

Paul was invited to speak to current students by Business BTEC tutor Ruksar Aktar.

During his presentation, Paul told how his addiction turned him into a vicious gang member, robber, burglar and how it almost killed him. He said he lost contact with his family after stealing from his own mother, served seven prison sentences and feared that he would have to have his leg cut off because it was so badly infected with septicaemia after he continuously injected himself with dirty needles.

Paul amazingly managed to turn his life around 10 years ago and has not touched drugs since. He now works tirelessly within local schools and colleges to make youngsters aware of the dangers of drugs and urges them not to go down the path he took.

One student said after the talk: “It was a very inspiring life story. His talk brought home to me that drugs can destroy you as a person and the people around you. He was a good person who was turned bad by drugs but who has managed to survive and come through a terrible life.”