Drug-shame coma teenager vows to stay clean Mum was right to show world these pic­tures of me af­ter I took ec­stasy

The People - - NEWS FEATURES & - By Grace Mac­skill

A SCHOOL­GIRL who nearly died af­ter tak­ing ec­stasy says her mum was right to shame her on­line.

Leah Robin­son, 16, fell into a coma af­ter tak­ing the party drug with friends at Christ­mas.

Mum Kerry took pho­tos of Leah as she lay un­con­scious, her face bloated, with tubes down her throat and wires snaking over her body.

When doc­tors told her Leah was making a re­cov­ery, Kerry put the pic­tures on Face­book as a warn­ing to her girl and other young­sters.

The shock­ing images went vi­ral. Ini­tially Leah felt hu­mil­i­ated and an­gry but now she has had a change of heart.

The teenager, who took a su­per-strong E pill, hopes oth­ers will learn from her ex­pe­ri­ence.

Leah said: “I al­most died. And it could hap­pen to any­one. I was so stupid but now my eyes have been opened.

“I want to say to other teens, ‘If you don’t lis­ten to your par­ents, teach­ers or the po­lice, lis­ten to me. This drug nearly killed me and although I was hu­mil­i­ated by those pic­tures, I’m now glad my mum posted them on­line.’

“It was the wake-up call I needed and hope­fully other kids who see them will be put off do­ing any­thing so stupid.”

Bloated

The dis­turb­ing images re­called the images re­leased by the par­ents of tragic Leah Betts, who died aged 18 af­ter tak­ing the drug in 1995.

Since then ec­stasy has been linked to 727 other deaths. A study in 2015 re­vealed its use in 16 to 24-year-olds was at an 11-year high.

The fig­ures re­flect young­sters’ alarm­ing lack of fear of the po­ten­tially deadly class A drug.

Leah Robin­son said she was far from be­ing the ex­cep­tion among her friends, many of whom have let peer pres­sure and cu­rios­ity lead them to ex­per­i­ment with the po­ten­tially deadly drug.

Hours be­fore she was ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal, Leah snapped her­self look­ing glam­orous ready for an evening of fun at a friend’s house.

In a smart high-neck blouse with per­fect makeup and sil­ver grey nails, Leah was stun­ning.

Hours later she was found slumped in a road, her clothes and hair caked in mud, af­ter tak­ing a Sil­ver Ne­spresso ec­stasy pill – a syn­thetic ex­trastrength ver­sion of the drug once used at 90s raves.

Leah said: “It’s so fright­en­ing. I don’t even re­mem­ber tak­ing the pill, let alone what hap­pened af­ter­wards.

“The first thing I knew was wak­ing up in hos­pi­tal with ma­chines ev­ery­where.

“I know one thing – I won’t be tak­ing drugs ever again. I’d gone out all dressed up and the next time I looked in a mir­ror my face was all bloated and swollen and I looked like I’d been in a car ac­ci­dent.

“But it wasn’t some big thing. That’s what is scary now . I just thought it was nor­mal. Par­ents don’t want to hear it but most teenagers, aged around 13 or 14, find out there are drugs around to buy. Not ev­ery­one tries them but ev­ery­one is cu­ri­ous. That’s nat­u­ral. “If there’s a party at a week­end it’s usu­ally com­mon knowl­edge who has ec­stasy to sell. “It’s usu­ally some­one the same age but you never find out who the dealer is. You’ve no idea how pure they are or where they come from. That’s what’s so dan­ger­ous. “But it was only when I saw those pic­tures of my­self and the re­al­ity of what I was do­ing to my­self t hat I re­alised it’s shouldn’t be nor­mal. It’s ter­ri­fy­ing.” Leah said drug tak­ing was com­mon among her peer group and teenagers will buy them if they have the money. She also claimed drugs ed­u­ca­tion lessons failed to hit home with kids. Leah said: “When I went back to school they had an­other assem­bly about the dan­gers but didn’t men­tion my name.

“Ev­ery­one is now ter­ri­fied to take them at school af­ter what hap­pened to me. I think most peo­ple have stopped but that’s just a hand­ful of kids in one school. I’m hop­ing the mes­sage will spread to oth­ers around the coun­try.”

Leah freely ad­mits she ig­nored her school’s anti-drugs mes­sage and the warn­ings from Kerry, her­self an ex-heroin ad­dict, when she popped the E at Christ­mas – not for the first time.

She said: “I’d had it a cou­ple ple of times be be­fore. I liked it. It made me feel nice and af­fec­tion­ate, and that made ade me feel safer tak­ing it the next time.me.

“No­body was telling me to take it. I took it be­cause I was of­fered­ered it. It’s that sim­ple. It seemed like a nor­mal thing to do. That is how it has be­come these days.

“Peo­ple don’t think it’s a big deal but it is. I know that now.w. I could have died.”

Leah was at a friend’s house se when she and a pal boughtt three pills for £15. She said: “That night is a black hole. I can’t re­call any­thing be­yond drink­ing with my friend. I’m told I was sit­ting in the mid­dle of the road, re­fus­ing to go to the pave­ment. My friend tried to pick me up but I was a dead weight.

“Some­one later said I looked like a dead cat who had been run over.”

There was so much mud in Leah’s hair that doc­tors at Wi­gan’s Royal Al­bert Ed­ward In­fir­mary ini­tially thought she was a brunette.

Hooked

There was mud in her eyes and in the back of her throat.th She thinks she must fallen in a big pud­dle.p Her tem­per­a­ture fell to a dan­ger­ous­ly­dange low 26C as she bat­tled hy­pother­mi­ahypo – 11C be­low the norm. SheSh woke in hos­pi­tal 14 hours later sur­round­ed­sur by sob­bing rel­a­tives. TheT pub­lic­ity sur­round­ing her or­deal was ex­cru­ci­at­ingly em­bar­rass­ing for LeahLea when she went back to school af­ter­afte the Christ­mas break. She said: “I felt like a bit of a laugh­ing stock. No­body re­ally said any­thing but I f oundou t he whole t hing re­ally em­bar­rass­ing.em I felt so ashamed that ev­ery­one had seen those pic­tures of

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