'They are brave, but I'm not sure this will save many lives'

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The Independent Online

Students at Glasgow University dismissed the shocking pictures of dead heroin addict Rachel Whitear as a sad waste of a life but one that was unlikely to change attitudes.

Rosie Brown, 21, a sociology student from Cheshire, said yesterday: "I think the family have been very brave but I am not sure that by doing this they will save as many people as they hope. It brings it home that we are all vulnerable but I think most people still feel that such tragedies only happen to someone else."

Anna Hart, 21, from Belfast, said the video, although shocking, would not alter perceptions of heroin. She said: "I think these images should be shown to school pupils as young as 14, or even sooner, because all too often the authorities think they will be too young to see the truth.

"By that age many of them have experimented with soft drugs already and their only information, often wrong, comes from the playground. The family are very courageous but I can't help feeling they are doing this for their own grief more than for public education."

Matthew Brough, 22, a politics student from Goole, agreed that the video would have little effect. "There are obviously reasons why this girl turned to drugs and what we don't know are the details of her problems. I feel sorry for the family but I think this video has been made for the wrong people.

"It seems to be aimed at parents and the authorities to help them feel that they are doing something ... Too many parents may think that by showing shocking images like these it will be enough. Unfortunately I think it can be an excuse for bad parenting," he said.

Ben Zielinski, 21, from Reading, said the image would act like all the other videos designed to prevent drink-driving.

"Each campaign has had to be more horrific than the last. We have seen pictures of Leah Betts and other victims of drug abuse before ... how are they going to make the next message even stronger than this one?

"The truth is that this will not stop people taking soft drugs, just like alcoholism doesn't stop people from having a glass of wine. There will always be a minority who go too far but that doesn't mean that the majority will suffer the same fate."