Anne-Marie Cockburn, 46, is very clear in blaming the Government for the loss of daughter Martha Fernback, who died after overdosing on highly pure ecstasy, aged 15, in 2013
A woman whose daughter died after overdosing on highly pure ecstasy has called for drugs to be legalised so they can be regulated – and no more parents will have to suffer the heartache she has.
Tragic Martha Fernback died in 2013, aged 15, when she took MDMA almost twice as potent as the norm.
But mum Anne-Marie Cockburn is very clear in blaming the Government for her loss – and not the dealers.
The 46-year-old said: “When I hear the news that a young person has died and yet another family has joined the bereaved parents’ club, I feel helpless as I wonder how many more need to die before someone in Government will do something about it?
“As I stand by my child’s grave, what more evidence do I need that things must change? My daughter would still be alive had she taken something that was legally regulated as it would be labelled with a list of ingredients and recommended dosage information.”
Anne-Marie is one of many devastated parents calling for a solution to the drugs blight through a rethink on legislation.
To mark the UN’s International Day Against Drug Trafficking and Abuse, bereaved families and activists will hit Parliament to tell their tragic stories and urge MPs to act.
They are being backed by Labour MP Jeff Smith and Tory MP Crispin Blunt. Mr Smith said: “It’s clear our drug policies are failing – the UK holds the grim title of being the drug overdose capital of Europe.”
And Mr Blunt added: “We have all been shocked by the Gosport scandal where hundreds of lives were ended early. Our drugs policy is a scandal a thousand times worse.”
Ray Lakeman is asking Parliament to change laws he believes led to the death of both of his sons, who overdosed on the same night.
Jacques, 20, and Torin, 19, died of accidental ecstasy overdoses in a hotel room after taking pills bought online.
Ray, from the Isle of Man, said: “Had my boys known what they were taking they would be alive now – I am 100% sure of that. But it isn’t just my boys, other lives would have been saved.
“We just have to acknowledge this is what happens. You don’t have to like it, I don’t like it. Some people say our laws are working but if they were working my boys would still be alive. If my boys had known what they were taking, they would still be here.
“If drugs were regulated we could spare more families the heartbreak I’ve lived through.”
The campaigners hope sharing their stories will encourage MPs to put doctors, pharmacists and licensed vendors in charge of the drugs market.
Ex-police officer Suzanne Sharkey, 50, began to question her role in our war on drugs after her own battle with booze and substance abuse.
Suzanne, who has been sober for 10 years now, is the vice chair of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, a group of current and former officers who believe our drug laws need to be reformed.
She said: “The reality was I wasn’t locking up career criminals or really bad people. I was locking up people that were ill and needed help. I think at the time we had a real lack of empathy and compassion.
“We weren’t getting drugs off the street but antagonising vulnerable people who had been forced into the margins by social circumstances. I cost the NHS a lot of money when I was dependent on alcohol but it was totally legal.
“Something like 90% of drug users never cause any problems. So why is one so lightly regulated and one illegal? It’s time to think about reforming the law.”
Praising the Anyone’s Child campaign, Manchester Withington MP Mr Smith said: “While our international partners take steps to reduce harm associated with drug use, our Government doubles down on zero-tolerance rhetoric based on policies drawn up 60 years ago. It’s time to take control and start protecting people.”
Reigate MP Mr Blunt added: “Our objective must be to reduce harm. The prize is ending the power and control criminal gangs have over society, the lifting of an enormous burden on the criminal justice system and saving lives.”
This article was written by Oliver Milne and published on the 25th June 2018 in the Mirror newspaper: www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/grieving-mother-says-daughter-would-12791737