By Humphrey Carter “I didn't want to be remembered as an actress who overdosed, I want to be remembered as someone who overcame drug addiction and helped people,” Daniella Westbrook said yesterday.

Actress and mother, she has been working to help Great Ormond Street for many years. “They do an absolutely wonderful job, not just for children in Britain but all over the world. “They're marvelous people who not only look after the children but also provide support and care for the whole family. “It's not easy dealing with a sick child, especially in a large family where every child needs care and attention, but at the hospital the people are fantastic and take care of everything,” she said yesterday.

Daniella not only knows what looking after children involves, she has three, she also knows what it is like on the other side, as a patient. “I've been clean and sober now for three years,” she boasts, “and it feels absolutely fantastic.” Her drug addiction not only very nearly brought the curtain down on her acting career, it also nearly killed her. “In the end was given a choice, two weeks to live or start kicking my habit,” she said. “I kept collapsing, my liver packed in and the doctor told me straight out that if I did not do something fast, the rest of my body would just give up - he gave me two weeks to live, I was pregnant at the time and I did not want to die.” Daniella has lately made a return to the tv screens, but the second half of her life is literally about to begin.
She is to start presenting the daytime chat show Loose Women on ITV1, she starts work on the new Carry On film this summer and also starts work next week filming a documentary about her drug addiction and how she beat it, with Trevor McDonald.

In between all this she said that she plans to complete her autobiography. She is not too sure on the title, but she reckons it will be “World Without Me.” Apart from being about her career, she hopes that it will be a help to drug addicts, She also works as a volunteer at a drug rehabilitation centre in Kent which helps addicts on benefit overcome their addiction. “It's taken me three years, but at the same time I was able to not only kick my addiction, but also see my daughter grow up. “Now she's three, I'm clean and I'm ready to get back to work and I can't wait. I'm really excited about life.” “It was a tough three years, all of it in the public eye, all the stuff about my nose falling out, but looking back I think all the public scrutiny helped,” she added. “Now I want to set an example, tragically there are so many famous people who have died of drugs and have been forgotten, I want to be remembered for helping people,” she said.

However, she feels that in Britain, the government could do more to help addicts and should start by getting tougher on drug use not easier. “All drugs should be illegal with tough punishment, it's no good tagging addicts, it does not help them, they have to be dealt with harshly, it's for their own benefit,” she said. “All this stuff about cannabis does not do any harm and does not lead to others things. It's rubbish, even if you spend 15 years just smoking dope, your brain suffers, you get slower and you suffer serious depression, if that's not enough,” she said. “All drugs are bad and people should just stay well clear of them. “It's also a very selfish habit. Addicts don't only harm themselves, they cause serious problems for their family and friends, it's heartache for parents and loved ones. People don't realise how many people taking drugs affects,” she said. “It really annoys me when I hear people going on about cannabis and how it's not dangerous.” However, Daniella did show signs of one minor addiction...shopping.
Yesterday morning she could not wait to get into Palma and hit the boutiques. “I've never been here before, I think it's lovely and only two hours from London. Shame we've just bought a place in Florida, but I reckon I'll bring the kids over for half term, it's fantastic,” she said and that was before she had even got to the shops.

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