Kevin Smith has confirmed Jason Mewes is winning his battle with heroin addiction - even though the director feared his "tough love" treatment would kill his actor pal.

Mewes, who has starred in all five of Smith's released films, has been battling the deadly drug for some years - but the film-maker says he has been "clean for 4 months now" and is doing "quite well" at a rehabilitation clinic in New Jersey, America.

The CLERKS actor had transferred to the East Coast clinic after finding ones in Los Angeles to be too soft, and has found he is being treated "worse" because of his "celebrity".

However, Smith has admitted he has extremely reluctantly followed doctors advice to give his friend "tough love" - because medics feared Mewes kept going back to his drug habit because the filmmaker was always there to "save him".

The DOGMA director was worried he may "kill" Mewes through the approach - which included not letting Mewes in his house when he came to visit, instead having to say, "I can't ask you to come in. We have to stay out here and talk."

But Smith is optimistic the 29-year-old Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back star will permanently recover, as his current stint in rehabilitation - his sixth in total - is his longest yet.

29/07/2003 17:38