Coroner backs mandatory drugs education following teen’s ecstasy death after rave

A coroner has backed calls from the “inspirational” parents of a teenager, who died after taking ecstasy at a rave in Hayes, for drugs education to be made mandatory in schools.

Sarah Ormond-Walshe, assistant coroner for west London, took the unusual step of writing an open letter to the Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation following the 16-year-old’s inquest in February.

During the hearing, Tim and Fiona Spargo-Mabbs told how they launched the foundation in the wake of their son’s death to campaign for better drugs awareness.

They plan to lobby the government to make drugs education mandatory at all UK schools after the General Election in May.

In her letter to the foundation, Miss Ormond-Walshe said: “I wholly support the foundation’s mission to educate young people about drug use. All of their goals are noteworthy, and right, and achievable.

“In setting up this foundation Mr and Mrs Spargo-Mabbs have an inspirational vision that has to be very much welcomed by all in society, but most importantly, sets out to protect young people from deadly dangers they may not appreciate. The foundation is being rightly creative in the innovative ways they are suggesting young people are educated about the dangers of drugs.”

She added: “I am told that sex education is mandatory on the National Curriculum. However, the dangers of illicit drug taking is not so. It is important that thought provoking ways are found to bring the message to the notice of those most at risk.

“I wholly support this foundation, and also have great faith that its trustees will make intelligent and creative proposals in respect of saving the lives of young people such as Dan in the future.”

Daniel, known to friends and family as Dan, was found collapsed at a warehouse at the back of an industrial estate off Silverdale Road on January 18 last year, having consumed 0.5g of MDMA. Despite doctors’ efforts, he died of multiple organ failure two days later.

Mrs Spargo-Mabbs, 47, thanked Miss Ormond-Walshe for her letter on behalf of the family, who live in Croydon.

She said the foundation had already used it “to add weight to something that could potentially be a very significant development for us”, although she could not give details as the project remains at a relatively early stage.

She added that the letter would provide a “powerful weapon” for lobbying the government.

Mrs Spargo-Mabbs told getwestlondon: “The letter from the coroner was totally unexpected. We had no idea that coroners have these powers, and never expected to take something so very positive away from the inquest.

“We’d anticipated this being just a painful and deeply upsetting experience that we had to get through, which it was, but then we were able to take this amazing promise away with us.

“Miss Ormonde-Walshe’s endorsement of our vision and plans is so encouraging to us, and will also be an incredibly useful and powerful tool to us as we develop and build the work of the foundation.

“The coroner’s court is the highest court in the land, and so having the authority of her commendation behind us is very significant, and gives an added credibility to us as a new charity.”

Among other projects, Mr and Mrs Spargo-Mabbs are working with playwright Mark Wheeller on a show titled ‘I Love You, Mum. I Promise I Won’t Die’ – Daniel’s final words to his mother – which they hope will be studied in drama classes.

source: http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/coroner-backs-mandatory-drugs-education-8751738