A REFORMED addict has died from a suspected overdose just hours after highlighting the dangers of drugs to school children.

Russell De-la-rue joined other recovering junkies to issue a

warning to pupils at St Bede's RC High School, Blackburn.

But the following morning the

30-year-old's body was found at a house in Sandon Street, Darwen.

A post mortem examination is due to be carried out tomorrow but detectives said indications were that the recovering heroin user's death was in keeping with a drugs overdose.

For the last two months, Mr De-la-rue had been seeking help from drugs counselling charity Thomas (Those on the Margins of a Society), run by Father Jim McCartney from St Anne's Church, Blackburn.

Mr McCartney confirmed Mr De-la-rue, whose family live in Burnley Road, Blackburn, joined other recovering addicts to perform a drama workshop on Friday, part of a health and fitness at the school.He said: "His death is a really sad loss for us all. He had been in good spirits on Friday and had been clean of drugs since joining the project in early February. He had expressed a determination to begin a new life free of drugs.

"A requirement of all members of our community support project which put on the workshop is to take a urine sample at the start of the week to prove they are clean - and Russell had done this."

Mr McCartney said he had been in touch with Mr De-la-rue's family and was now comforting other people involved with the project.

"This is really tragic and there are a lot of devastated people here, where we aim to develop a communal model of support.

"But this again a reminder the terrible illness drug addiction is and are thoughts are with his family."

Janice Fee, director of sport at St Bede's, said: "We were grateful for all the work Mr De-le-rue did for the school and we were truly shocked and saddened to hear of his death.

"Our thoughts go out to his family and prayers will be said."

Inspector Stuart Bruce of Blackburn police said: "Early indications are that his sudden death is consistent with drugs abuse. At this stage we are treating the death as suspicious as we have yet to establish why he was in the property and exactly how he died."

Mr De-la-rue was handed a 34 months prison stretch in February 2002 after admitting burglary, handling and theft charges.

His defence team said the burglary was in a bid to pay off a drug debt.

Paramedics pronounced him dead at the house at around 11am on Saturday after occupants of the rented property called an ambulance to report the man's "sudden death".

Two people have been interviewed in relation to the death and released on bail pending further inquiries.