UK

Drug Legalisation In The UK Called For By Mother Of Teenage Schoolgirl Who Died After Taking Party Drug Ecstasy

12/06/2014 13:02 BST | Updated 12/06/2014 13:59 BST
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The mother of a teenage schoolgirl who died after taking party drug ecstasy has called for the legalisation of drugs in the UK.

Martha Fernback, from the Summertown area of Oxford, suffered a cardiac arrest last July at the city's Hinksey Park after taking 0.5mg of MDMA, known as ecstasy.

The drug the 15-year-old GCSE student took turned out to be 91% pure, compared to the average street-level purity of 58%, Oxfordshire Coroner's Court heard.

She died at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford on July 20, only a couple of hours after taking around half a gram of the drug.

Following the inquest at County Hall in Oxford, Martha's mother Anne-Marie Cockburn called for drugs to be legalised and regulated and said she wants to meet senior politicians, including the Home Secretary.

"It has been 328 days since my precious girl was safely by my side," she said.

"Martha wanted to get high, she didn't want to die - no parent wants either, but one of those is preferable to the other.

"I wish Martha was sitting her GCSEs alongside her friends at school right now.

"I wish the drug education she received had enabled her to make a more fully-informed decision, instead of leaving her so vulnerable and in danger.

"I would like to meet with Theresa May, Norman Baker and Yvette Cooper to start a sensible dialogue for change, from prohibition to strict and responsible regulation of recreational drugs.

"This will help to safeguard our children and lead to a safer society for us all by putting doctors and pharmacists, not dealers, in control of drugs."

Oxfordshire coroner Darren Salter recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

He said: "It is a terrible loss and I think we can only say that it may at least serve as a warning to young people who may take, or think of taking, ecstasy or MDMA.

"What is clear is that there is no way of knowing what it is made up of or what the purity level is.

"So, as I say, this is a very stark warning of what can happen."