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Friday, 1 March, 2002, 10:30 GMT
'Our decision over addict daughter'
Pauline and Mick Holcroft
The Holcrofts believe education can stop heroin abuse
The parents of a young heroin victim say their decision to release harrowing pictures of her death will be worth it if just one life is saved.

Mick and Pauline Holcroft told the BBC they hoped children would never use the drug after seeing the devastating effect it had on their 21-year-old daughter Rachel Whitear.

After a film about her death was shown to pupils at a school in Herefordshire Mrs Holcroft said: "They think seeing this film has changed their viewpoint on drugs and we're hoping it will have a far-reaching effect."

Rachel was a young person with a brilliant future ahead of her and it just ruined her life long before she actually died from it

Pauline Holcroft
The Holcrofts believe many young people do not realise the effects heroin has on daily life and say Rachel was lonely and miserable for months before she overdosed.

Mrs Holcroft, 52, said the drug caused a gradual, but visible demise in her daughter.

"It's not something that you would notice overnight... it's very small changes at first in her personality, followed by behaviour changes and the loss of former friends."

Her husband said he was "devastated" by his daughter's addiction and the effects it had on his close-knit family.

"We had to put a lot of energy into her... obviously not successfully," he said.

'Nightmare'

"There's still a massive void that we miss every day."

Rachel Whitear
Rachel's death left a "massive void"
Rachel's parents said she suffered terribly from her addiction before she finally overdosed.

"In the end her family weren't near, so we had real problems with that and she had problems with that," said Mr Holcroft .

"While Rachel always worked she was able to cover it up to many people, dealing with it day to day became a nightmare for her and unfortunately she lost the battle."

He said the family tried to cope with Rachel's addiction together, but ultimately there was nothing they could do.

'Brilliant future'

"With this particularly insidious drug, you have got very little you can do as a family unit.

"It has to be done by the individual and they're fighting massive odds which are very pessimistic, unfortunately."

Rachel's parents think the only good that can come from her heroin abuse is the chance other young people will think twice before using it.

Mrs Holcroft said: "We believe that the answer to drug abuse is in education, especially of young people and showing the effects that it will have on them.

"Rachel was a young person with a brilliant future ahead of her and it just ruined her life long before she actually died from it."

See also:

01 Mar 02 | Education
08 Feb 03 | Medical notes
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