Tragic Consequences of Addiction

An addiction can destroy the life of the affected individual but, in some cases, it can have a devastating effect on those around them. Many addicts will act in a despicable manner, causing heartache to their loved ones. Some will resort to crime and may distress innocent strangers.

Most addicts are not in control of their actions because the addiction completely takes over his or her life. They are compelled to act the way that they do, and even if they are aware that their actions are having an adverse effect on those around them, they cannot stop themselves from acting in this way.


This was the case for Colin Garrett, whose addiction to inhaling butane gas led to the death of his teenage girlfriend Hannah Lafferty. Hannah and Colin shared a flat together along with Colin’s brother Nigel. However, in September 2014, Hannah died of butane gas inhalation after collapsing at the flat five days earlier.

After her death, police searched the apartment and found fourteen canisters of gas. Hannah’s father said, “I was aware of Colin’s use of prescription drugs and inhaling of gas, and I made it clear I didn’t want that going on in my flat or around Hannah.”

Hannah and Colin had previously been living with her father, Robert, before getting a place across the road. Robert said, “I gave him a DVD called the ‘Truth about Drugs‘ and told him he would die if he didn’t stop. I didn’t like her living with the brothers, but I was glad she lived close by and I would see her most days.”

He also said that before meeting the brothers, Hannah had never taken drugs or even smoked cigarettes.

Tragic Reaction

On the night she collapsed, Hannah inhaled the butane gas along with the brothers, who claimed she had inhaled gas three or four times. Nevertheless, Hannah passed out after inhaling the substance for about five to ten seconds. Upon calling 999, the brothers were instructed on how to administer CPR before paramedics arrived and took over.

At the hospital, consultant Dr JM de Beer said that it was soon evident Hannah had suffered a substantial brain injury but was unsure how long she had been in cardiac arrest. Five days later, the decision was made by Hannah’s family to switch off life support.

The pathologist ruled that the butane gas inhalation had most probably caused the cardiac arrest, which then caused multiple organs to fail.

The coroner said, “This is a tragic case of an innocent 18-year-old girl who has met two young males, at least one of whom was, or is, addicted to butane gas.” The verdict was death by misadventure.

Police admitted that there is no evidence to suggest that anyone else was responsible for Hannah’s death.

Peer Pressure

There is nothing to suggest that Hannah was pressured into taking butane gas along with her boyfriend and his brother, but peer pressure is often cited as a reason for young people taking drugs in the first place.

Many adolescents will take drugs in a bid to fit in or to avoid being made fun of. Unfortunately, in some instances, this can lead to tragic consequences, as seen above.

Help for Addiction

If you are worried about your child and drugs, or suspect he or she may be using, contact Addiction Helper today. We are a free service working with addicts and their families to provide helpful advice and support on treatments available in all areas of the UK.

Our advisors and counsellors are on hand to listen to your problems and to offer expert advice. Call today for more information.


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