Ex-heroin addict reveals how he was guarding Buckingham Palace by 30


A former heroin addict who became hooked on drugs at 18 reveals how he was guarding Buckingham Palace just 12 years later after enlisting in the Scots Guard when he got clean.

Paul Boggie, 42, of Fife, first tried the Class A drug after falling out with friends as a teenager and began taking it every day, eventually racking up £16,000 in debt, dropping to just 8 stone in weight due to his habit. 

After years denying he was an addict, Paul eventually realised he had a problem when he was left without heroin for eight hours following a police drugs bust.   

Paul Boggie, 42, who lives in Fife, became a heroin addict at the age of 18 after he took the drug when he felt upset about falling out with some friends

Paul finally got clean on his 14th attempt to come off the drug and joined the Scots Guard at the age of 30 (pictured)

Paul finally got clean on his 14th attempt to come off the drug and joined the Scots Guard at the age of 30 (pictured)

Paul was medically discharged after he broke his back while driving a truck ahead of a tour of Afghanistan

Paul was medically discharged after he broke his back while driving a truck ahead of a tour of Afghanistan

‘I remember when I finally got that drug again I felt amazing, all the physical pain, shivering and nose and eyes running all went away,’ he told the BBC. ‘But then I thought: ‘Oh no, I think I’ve just signed my death warrant’.

‘It was the realisation that I was in so much danger because I loved heroin so much and I didn’t want to feel cold turkey ever again. I remember thinking I must be addicted.’ 

Paul first tried the drug in a friend’s car on the estate in Craigentinny, Edinburgh where he was living and remembers how it smelled like ‘rotten fish’. 

He became hooked but initially managed to hold down his office mail delivery job, sneaking off to the toilets to smoke heroin at work. 

Paul hid his drug use from his family, friends and employer, passing off his red eyes as hay fever. 

Paul, who grew up in Edinburgh, first tried the drug with friends on his estate of Craigentinny 

Despite smoking every day, he confessed he 'didn't think he was addicted' or take the drug habit 'seriously'

Despite smoking every day, he confessed he ‘didn’t think he was addicted’ or take the drug habit ‘seriously.’

Despite smoking every day, he confessed he ‘didn’t think he was addicted’ or take the drug habit ‘seriously.’ 

After coming to the realisation he was an addict, Paul’s dependency continued to worsen. He lost his job and began to look unwell. 

‘I gave up on life, I was only focused on getting heroin. I was wallowing in self-pity and heroin would take it all away,’ he said. 

‘Luckily most of the time my parents let me stay at their house, but I have slept in stairwells. You don’t feel the pain or the cold because you are happy wherever you are when you are on heroin.’

Paul tried to come off heroin 13 times before finally succeeding after attending a course organised by the homeless charity Cyrenians.

The group offers supported accommodation in London for people who have mental health needs, learning disabilities or who may be vulnerable, homeless or sleeping rough. 

Paul recalled a turning point when he looked in the mirror and told himself he would never have heroin again – and he stuck to that promise. 

Paul  was able to get clean for a second time after he wrote a book about his heroin addiction during the first lockdown (pictured) 

After working in a supermarket, Paul decided to enlist in the Scots Guards at the age of 30 and found himself stationed at Buckingham Palace just months later.

Life in the Scots Guard gave him a sense of purpose and achievement. Sadly his time in the Armed Forces came to an end when he broke his back in a car crash while being driven to a training session and was medically discharged.    

Tragically, he became addiction to prescription painkillers given to him to help with his crushed spine.

He was able to get clean for a second time after he wrote a book about his heroin addiction during the first lockdown.

Paul now speaks in schools to warn children about the dangers of addiction, and also talks for inmates in prison.   

 FRANK is a support service that offers information about drugs, plus advice for people who use drugs. Call the FRANK helpline on 0300 123 66 00.

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