Mum’s fight for Jimmy’s Law
A mother who is convinced her son died from legal highs launched a website this week warning others of the dangers of the lawful ‘drugs’.
Karen Audino spoke as police confirmed that synthetic cannabis was found in 20-year-old Jimmy Guichard’s room as lay unconscious.
Jimmy’s family decided to turn off his life-support machine after he suffered a heart attack at his Gravesend home in October.
His mother Karen Audino claimed empty plastic bags found beside him were evidence he took the legal highs shortly before his death. She is now calling for a total ban.
She said: “I was told there were two packets by him. One was empty and one was full. His dad had said he had gone into Chatham that morning to purchase them.”
The youngster’s post-mortem, released in November, revealed there were no traces of alcohol or illegal drugs in his system.
Police have told her the substance found in his room was synthetic cannabis.
His mother, who has been l iving in Northern Ireland after moving from Hextable in 2005, is struggling to come to terms with losing her only son.
She said: “It’s absolutely heartbreaking to think that something that just anyone can walk in and buy from a shop, as if they’re buying sweets and a newspaper, can do this.
“My life has changed beyond recognition. Some days are better than others and some days are absolutely terrible. We’ve just had Christmas and New Year and it was very, very poignant that there was an empty chair at the table.” The 42-year-old has since set up a Facebook campaign, Legal Hi g h Awareness and Prevention. She has also launched a website called Jimmy’s Law in order to share her son’s story and raise awareness of the effects of legal highs.
She said: “I want a complete ban on the shops selling them.
“My son is not going to be a number, he’s not going to be a statistic. Something good has to come out of this.”
Matt Ford, 17, is all too familiar with the pain caused by legal highs after he was left just minutes from death following a heart attack.
The teenager, formerly of Whitstable, was left shaking, foaming at the mouth, unable to move or speak and suffering from blurred vision after taking a bong of Exodus Damnation. Within minutes he was being rushed to hospital.
He said: “I remember when the paramedics were there, every time I closed my eyes all I could see was a dragon-like, devil sort of figure. Every time I had my eyes open it was just horrible.
“If I’d have known it would have happened I’d never have suggested buying the stuff.”
He and his friends bought the substance from UK Skunkworks in Canterbury, despite being underage – a matter the company was previously unavailable to comment on.
The former Canterbury College student said: “I want them banned. They are horrible.”
Mr Ford is now worried about his health.
He said: “I’ve done illegal drugs and legal highs but no illegal drug has ever come anywhere near as dangerous as that.”
Mum Karen Audino
Jimmy Guichard shortly before his death