Here's living proof that addiction can be overcome

COMMENT: You showed that you all really care about others

All too often we report on the devastating effects of drugs.

Many times it is the person who becomes addicted whose life is wrecked. But this curse on our society also hits relatives and friends of users, and those who are victims of crime induced by a need to finance an out-of-control habit.

Often there is no happy ending, no return to normality. Witness the inquest reports that we carry, with sadness, telling how someone has died as result of a drugs addiction.

But there can be happy endings, which is why we should celebrate today the story of teenager Tom Bertram.

He is only 19, but a year ago he suffered a heart attack as a result of taking cocaine.

He was lucky to survive and, without making light of his cardiac arrest, it literally gave his body – and mind – the shock it needed.

Now, with a pacemaker fitted, he has turned his life around, finding success in music after turning to it as a means of coping with what had happened to him.

Now he has released an album of songs, some of which draw from his experiences of drug-taking. The aptness of the title – Wasting Time – is clear to see.

So too is the change in his contribution to society.

A year ago it was zero – he was the one doing all the taking, needing expensive hospital treatment to keep him alive after a medical disaster brought on by his own lifestyle.

Now he is inspiring others. He has more than 12,000 fans on-line and some say they are better able to tackle their own drugs problem because of his words and music.

'It feels really weird, but good weird,' he says.

Not words that we might have used, perhaps, but succinct in summing up the different way in which he views the world.

People who wreck their lives and those of others with drugs invariably do so of their own volition.

But as a society we should hope that addicts can change, with as much help as we are able to give them.

Tom is living proof that it is possible to get back on the rails.