On the 26th May 2017, our son and brother finished his last day at school ahead of his GCSE exams. He went on to attend an under 18’s club event with some friends to continue the celebration. Later that night another of Luke’s friends alerted mum that Luke had been taken to hospital. When we arrived he was unresponsive, and surrounded by icepacks to try and bring his temperature down. It was then that we discovered he had taken something which the medical team assumed was MDMA (ecstasy). Despite all of our will and the excellent efforts from the medical team, Luke died in our arms at 5.15am.
Luke was so full of life, with a whole lot of adventure ahead of him. How could it be cut so bitterly short by a party drug that’s taken by countless amounts of young people, every weekend, all over the world? We were ignorant to the idea that he would be experimenting with such drugs at his age and had missed the opportunity to talk with him about the dangers of drugs. He was a popular young man with such a large group of friends, yet it seems that life saving, harm reducing information had not penetrated his cohort. We believe this is the fault of prohibition creating a barrier against honest drugs education being provided to people Luke’s age and younger. Not everyone will try drugs but they might know someone who will.
Following the investigation into Luke’s death we discovered that he bought some ecstasy pills (of which he took two) from some friends just one year older than him. They had been purchasing small quantities of pills off the dark web to sell among their friends. A classic example of social supply, which we have learnt can have detrimental results for all involved. The two boys, Luke’s friends, were facing prosecution which would most probably end with prison sentences had we not pleaded for a less punitive sentence. More young lives at risk.
That is why we are campaigning with Anyone’s Child, we want to prevent the loss of any more precious young lives. Production needs to be regulated so the content of drugs can be trusted; and supply needs to be controlled, just the same as over-the-counter drugs, so that distribution is also closely governed and come with some basic guidelines. This can only be achieved be challenging the illegal status of drugs and current drug policies. Legal control and regulation will then open the door to honest education in schools and colleges so the generations to come are correctly informed about drugs and their dangers.
Had Luke known the content of what he was taking he would still be here with us today. The ‘war on drugs’ and ‘just say no’ mantra is failing our young people. Policy needs to change.