Fashion designer Donatella Versace is relieved she has managed to kick her cocaine habit, because it was a "slow suicide".

The 49-year-old sister of murdered fashion guru Gianni Versace checked into a drug rehabilitation clinic in the summer (04) following weeks of speculation about her health.

Donatella says, "I've started the long road. I know I will have to fight every day. But it's important for me to start. I have the strength for this.

"Sometimes you think a chemical substance can help resolve your problems, making them seem less heavy or less strong.

"But the real enemy is that it ambushes you and instead of resolving your problems it makes them even bigger - until, in the end, it leads you to a slow suicide.

"My message to all the young people who suffer the same as me is that they must get help."

12/12/2004 14:38