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Mum of drug death teen backs cop boss' call for safe injecting sites.

Byline: AMELIA SHAW Daily Post Reporter

THE bereaved mother of a 15-year-old who died after taking ecstasy has backed a call by a police boss to set up safe injecting areas for drug users.

Anne-Marie Cockburn has campaigned for the legal regulation of drugs since her daughter Martha Fernbeck had a heart attack in July 2013 after swallowing half a gram of 90% pure MDMA powder in a park.

She was a keynote speaker at a summit on the decriminalisation of drugs hosted by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones at Wrexham's Racecourse Ground this week.

In her speech, Ms Cockburn spoke about the pain of losing her daughter, who she described as a "bright and clever girl" who wanted to become an engineer.

She said: "Martha told me she took ecstasy to make her feel happy and after she died I found an online search she'd done to find ways of taking it safely. She wanted to get high but she didn't want to die.

"By telling my story, hopefully others will learn and take part in this important dialogue about regulating the supply of drugs." Ms Cockburn was a founder member of Anyone's Child, an international network of families who say their lives have been wrecked by current drug laws. She agrees with the commissioner's view that drug misuse should be treated as a health issue rather than a crime.

Mr Jones, who was a police officer for 30 years, said cities including Geneva, Switzerland, had introduced safe injecting facilities - known as SIFs - allowing drug users to take substances.

He said: "I believe that SIFs, or as we call them enhanced drug consumption rooms, are the way forward here.

"They would make it easier for the user to take drugs and take it away from the public view, thereby increasing confidence and reducing fear.

"They would also address the matter of drugs litter and all equipment could be disposed of safely in the facility."

Ms Cockburn, from Oxford, added "I agree with Mr Jones about the safe injecting facilities.

"They would get rid of the paraphernalia of drugs and get users away from parks and open spaces.

"A lot of drug users have complex needs. The SIFs would give them access to clean facilities and they wouldn't have to worry about the stigma of getting access to help.

"I also agree about the heroinassisted treatment because it would help users to get away from crime and receive the support they need, such as clean and sterilized equipment."

Mr Jones said the UK Government should be lobbied for changes in drug policy but stressed that decriminalisation does not mean legalisation.

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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 13, 2017
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