Morphine has ruined my life, says Bedingfield

8.15am

New Zealand-born pop star Daniel Bedingfield says morphine prescribed to him after a life-threatening crash near Whangarei at the start of this year has ruined his life.

Bedingfield says he has suffered blackouts, temper tantrums, nightmarish flashbacks and memory loss after doctors prescribed him morphine for his car- crash injuries.

Bedingfield was injured after the four-wheel-drive vehicle he was driving rolled on Kauri Mountain Rd, near Whangarei, on January 2. He sustained a serious neck injury.

Bedingfield, whose hits include Gotta Get Thru This and If You're Not The One, had been in Northland on holiday.

A committed Christian, he had made a surprise appearance at the Youth For Christ six-day Summer Harvest camp on a farm at Kauri Mountain before the crash.

He moved to England with his parents when he was three months old but still calls New Zealand home.

The singer was almost killed after his Cherokee Jeep rolled and he was forced to take a cocktail of drugs in hospital to help him cope with the pain of his severe head injuries, which he complains have altered his personality and damaged his relationship with his singer sister Natasha and the rest of his family and friends.

"There's a large amount of memory loss," Bedingfield told a British newspaper. "A couple of times I've blanked out what happened five minutes earlier.

"I'll be sitting on the couch with my dad and he'll ask me why I talked to him like that. I'll tell him I don't know what he's talking about and he'll say, 'You were shouting and being aggressive.' And I've completely blanked it out and I don't like that.

"It was shortly after my accident that I became more volatile. I still shout a lot more. The doctors told me to expect it but when it happens it's heartbreaking."

In August Bedingfield was let off a careless driving charge that resulted from the crash after he completed a driving retraining course in the United States.

The 24-year-old was discharged without conviction by Justices of the Peace in Whangarei District Court after police confirmed Bedingfield had completed the driving course. He was not required to appear in court.

It is common practice to offer first-time offenders the opportunity to avoid conviction through driver retraining.

A month after the accident, he won the best male solo artist award at the Brit Awards -- the British equivalent to the Grammys.

He later wrote a song about his near-death experience in Northland entitled I'm Not Dead - I'm Alive.

The song will feature on a new album he plans to release in October.

Part of his recuperation included driving down the gravel road where the crash took place.

Earlier this year he told The Sun newspaper in England: "I've since returned to New Zealand and forced myself to drive down that road again. It was really weird and strangely exciting and scary."

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE (WHANGAREI)

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