CALL FOR BET­TER DRUG ED­U­CA­TION

Coro­ner backs par­ents of teen who died af­ter tak­ing ec­stasy

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by Will Ack­er­mann will.ack­er­mann@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

A CORO­NER has backed calls from par­ents of a teenager, who died af­ter tak­ing ec­stasy at a rave in Hayes, for manda­tory drugs ed­u­ca­tion in schools.

Sarah Or­mond-Wal­she, as­sis­tant coro­ner for west Lon­don, took the un­usual step of writ­ing an open let­ter to the Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foun­da­tion fol­low­ing the 16-year-old’s in­quest last month.

Dur­ing the hear­ing, Tim and Fiona Spargo-Mabbs told how they launched the foun­da­tion in the wake of their son’s death to cam­paign for bet­ter drugs aware­ness. They plan to lobby the gov­ern­ment to make drugs ed­u­ca­tion manda­tory at all UK schools af­ter the gen­eral elec­tion in May.

In her let­ter to the foun­da­tion, Miss Or­mond-Wal­she said: “I wholly sup­port the foun­da­tion’s mission to ed­u­cate young peo­ple about drug use. All of their goals are note­wor­thy, and right, and achiev­able.

“In set­ting up this foun­da­tion, Mr and Mrs Spargo-Mabbs have an in­spi­ra­tional vi­sion that has to be very much wel­comed by all in so­ci­ety, but most im­por­tantly sets out to pro­tect young peo­ple from deadly dan­gers they may not ap­pre­ci­ate. The foun­da­tion is be­ing rightly cre­ative in the in­no­va­tive ways they are sug­gest­ing young peo­ple are ed­u­cated about the dan­gers of drugs.

“I am told that sex ed­u­ca­tion is manda­tory on the Na­tional Cur­ricu­lum. How­ever, the dan­gers of il­licit drug tak­ing is not so. It is im­por­tant that thought pro­vok­ing ways are found to bring the mes­sage to those most at risk.”

Daniel was found col­lapsed in a ware­house at the back of an industrial es­tate off Sil­verdale Road on Jan­uary 18 last year, hav­ing con­sumed 0.5g of MDMA.

De­spite doc­tors’ ef­forts, he died of mul­ti­ple or­gan fail­ure two days later.

Mrs Spargo-Mabbs, 47, thanked Miss Or­mondWal­she for her let­ter on be­half of the fam­ily, who live in Croydon. She said the foun­da­tion had al­ready used it ‘to add weight to some­thing that could po­ten­tially be a very sig­nif­i­cant devel­op­ment for us’, although she could not give de­tails as the project re­mains at a rel­a­tively early stage.

She added that the let­ter would pro­vide a ‘pow­er­ful weapon’ for lob­by­ing the gov­ern­ment.

She added: “The let­ter from the coro­ner was to­tally un­ex­pected. We had no idea that coro­ners have th­ese pow­ers, and never ex­pected to take some­thing so very pos­i­tive away from the in­quest. We’d an­tic­i­pated this be­ing just a painful and deeply up­set­ting ex­pe­ri­ence, which it was, but then we were able to take this amaz­ing prom­ise away with us.

“Miss Or­mon­deWal­she’s en­dorse­ment of our vi­sion and plans is so en­cour­ag­ing to us and will also be an in­cred­i­bly use­ful and pow­er­ful tool to us as we de­velop and build the work of the foun­da­tion. The coro­ner’s court is the high­est court in the land, so hav­ing the author­ity of her com­men­da­tion be­hind us is very sig­nif­i­cant, and gives an added cred­i­bil­ity to us as a new char­ity.”

Mr and Mrs Spar­goMabbs are work­ing with play­wright Mark Wheeler on a show ti­tled ‘I Love You, Mum. I Prom­ise I Won’t Die’ – Daniel’s fi­nal words to his mother – which they hope will be stud­ied in drama classes.

Con­trib­uted

KILLED: Daniel Spargo-Mabbs, 16, died af­ter tak­ing ec­stasy at a rave in Hayes

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