UK

Former Heroin Addict Turns Life Around After Being Told She Has 1 Year to Live

By GQ Pan

A woman who was formerly addicted to heroin is celebrating a year of being clean, after being told she only had months to live if she didn’t give up her drug addiction.

Caroline Best was addicted to heroin and crack cocaine and spent the past 15 years in and out of prison for shoplifting.

Last August, Best was told by doctors that her heart had started failing and that they wouldn’t be able to operate on her until she gave up drugs, the West Midlands Police shared in a news release.

The 36-year-old said she was told she only had 12 months to live.

Caroline Best was told by doctors she had one year to live. (West Midlands Police)

Officer Stuart Toogood, from West Midlands Police, reached out to Best to help turn things around and helped her join an intensive rehab program.

On Aug. 27, Best celebrated 12 months clean form drugs.

She was also told she no longer needed a heart operation after she beat her drug addiction, police said.

“Thanks to Stuart Toogood, I’m now a productive member of society and I thank him for helping me do something I couldn’t do on my own,” said Best, who is now helping Toogood work with other criminals to “get them out of a life of crime,” Best said.

“I am living proof that we can recover,” she added.

Caroline Best
A former prolific drug addict and shoplifter, Caroline has now successfully turned her life around. (West Midlands Police)

Stuart Toogood said the rehab program has so far successfully placed nine prolific offenders into rehab.

“Of the five who have completed the program one has gained full time employment at Timpson, two have worked as volunteers for Birmingham Mind charity and completed adult education courses,” Toogood said.

“They have also been ambassadors for WMP, presented at several business conferences to raise awareness of the program and the benefits of it for the business community,” police said.

“And two people are in aftercare at dry houses—one should be progressing into employment soon whilst the other is about to undertake adult education courses. Four other people are currently in treatment and doing well. Several others are in the process of being assessed for rehab placement.”

Toogood, who is on the Birmingham Neighborhood team, said the program resulted in a “huge reduction” of thefts in and around the Birmingham North and East regions, as many offenses were being committed a core group of offenders.

Statistics: Drug Deaths in the U.K.

Cocaine deaths reach all-time high in England and Wales last year, according to the Office of National Statistics of the U.K. There were 637 deaths related to cocaine in 2018, almost double the number registered a few years earlier in 2015 when there were 320 deaths.

The report also found that heroin and morphine continued to be the most frequently mentioned opiates with 1,336 drug poisoning deaths mentioning either one of these substances in 2018. This equates to a rate of 23.4 deaths per million people, a statistically significant increase when compared to the rate in 2017 (20.5 deaths per million).

Fentanyl Overdoses in the U.S.

In August, President Donald Trump urged the Senate to pass a measure to stop synthetic opioid drugs such as fentanyl from being transported into the United States via the U.S. Postal Service system.

“It is outrageous that Poisonous Synthetic Heroin Fentanyl comes pouring into the U.S. Postal System from China,” he wrote on Aug. 20.

Bags of heroin displayed after a major drug bust, at the office of the New York Attorney General in in N.Y.C., on Sept. 23, 2016. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The shipment of fentanyl from China to the U.S. is “almost a form of warfare,” Trump said in August.

“In China, you have some pretty big companies sending that garbage and killing our people,” Trump said at the time.

More than 71,500 Americans have died of a drug overdose in 2017, according to data released the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The majority—or least 68 percent—of those deaths could be attributed to opioids such as fentanyl.

“[Chinese drug makers] have been using the internet to sell fentanyl and fentanyl analogues to drug traffickers and individual customers in the United States,” said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in a statement on Oct. 17, 2017.

Epoch Times reporter Jack Phillips contributed to this report.