“I COULD feel life ebbing away out of me. I was grey.”

Janis Fovargue had hit an artery while trying to inject drugs – but was still determined to get her next fix, despite the blood shooting out of her leg and onto the bedroom ceiling.

“All I wanted to do was score,” she said. “I’m so lucky I’ve still got my leg. But I was in hospital for two or three weeks.”

This hard-hitting account of one addict’s road to recovery and the devastating effect it had on her family life left some sixth form pupils at a Southampton college in tears – with others visibly shocked.

But hearing first hand from a reformed drug addict was all in the name of education and part of an annual conference for criminology, law and psychology students.

The one day event at Richard Taunton College also saw students hear first hand how a boozy night out led to one man serving life sentence for murder, and gave them the chance to ask questions about crime, punishment and the consequences of our actions.

The ‘Life Behind Bars’ crew travel the length and breadth of the country speaking to young offenders as well as students who are about to embark on careers in law, psychology or with the police.

Ms Fovargue said: “We are talking about sensitive issues and some of them do get very upset. I told them about my relationship with my son and how difficult it is that he now won’t speak to me.” But she said her work with the conference is her way of helping young people achieve their goals, at the same time as helping her keep on the straight and narrow. She said: “It’s helping me with my sobriety.

“When I decided to stop taking drugs I had to do something with my time. I spoke at the conference one day and then got offered a job. I’m the only woman speaker. It’s always helped me to help other people, to give people a better understanding of women in jail.

“Turning something so bad into something positive to help young people learn can only be a good thing.”

Law teacher Lisa Rose said the event was a “fantastic insight into the other side of crime and seeing it from the criminals’ perspective” while a tearful Paige Garrod added: “It showed us how important it is to know a person’s back story. Not every criminal is a bad person”.

The speakers also went to Barton Peveril College and Southampton University.