[h1]Family’s vow over ‘legal high’ drugs danger[/h1]
A family has warned of the “disastrous consequences” of legal highs after their son walked in front of a lorry on a motorway after taking a drug bought over the internet.
Their stark message comes just weeks after Cambridge MP Julian Huppert demanded that the Government changes its drugs policy to respond to the new challenge of legal highs.
Alex Howse, 26, is believed to have been hallucinating after taking a large dose of 5-MeO-DALT, which was sold as a plant food, an inquest heard.
Internet companies like Cambridge-based CamBotanics have been criticised in the past for supplying legal drugs masquerading as everyday household products.
Although the company does not sell this substance, it does advertise products like Benzofury, Loracaine and MDAT (Hex TC 1).
Mr Howse, of Green End Road, Sawtry, was grinning when he continued to walk in front of the articulated lorry as the driver swerved to avoid him.
He suffered a fractured skull, although the lorry was only travelling at between 15 and 19 miles an hour when it hit him on the A1(M) on July 3.
Coroner Dr Sam Bass said: “It is a tragedy when anybody who takes drugs dies because of it, especially when it is a substance easily purchased from the internet and purchased legally in this case.”
He recorded a verdict that Mr Howse had died of his injuries after being hit by a lorry while under the influence of 5-MeO-DALT.
At the inquest in Huntingdon Mr Howse’s devastated mother Sandra apologised to lorry driver James Blood for what had happened.
She said: “I know in his right mind he would not have done this to you or anyone else.”
The inquest heard that Mr Howse had taken the legal high with his friend Timothy Payne, who had bought it on the internet.
Mr Payne said in a statement: “Alex and myself had talked about trying a legal high drug for a couple of weeks before this and that night I had some with me.”
He said he had bought a gram of the drug for £20 and that had each taken some separately at a pub in the village.
Mr Payne said: “It is advertised as a plant feeder or plant food. It is well stated on the internet that this is really a legal high and is advertised as a plant food because it would be illegal to sell it as a drug for human consumption.”
He told the inquest the drug made him feel “pretty good” about himself.
Lorry driver James Blood said Mr Howse walked in front of his lorry and continued across the road as he tried to swerve.
“He had a huge grin right across his face, which I thought was really odd,” he said.
Pc John Blood (corr) said the usual dose was between 25-100mg, but Mr Howse may have taken up to 350mg, adding: “It is likely Mr Howse was in the grip of a psychedelic experience.”
After the inquest the Howse family paid tribute to their beloved son and brother and said they were still in shock and grief at the loss of an intelligent, talented and caring man.
They said: “Another young life has been tragically lost as a result of a substance that is blatantly sold as a recreational drug with no scientific testing for what effects it may have or indications of what exactly is in the substance.
“We realise that banning every one of these dangerous chemicals is impossible as new ones appear all the time and the composition can be changed to get round the law.
“However, we will do all in our power to raise awareness that “legal” does not mean safe and experimenting with anything that is an unknown quantity can have disastrous consequences, as it did for Alex.”
Speaking to the News earlier this month Cambridge MP Mr Huppert said: “The drugs market is changing and the Government must respond. We need a rational policy which protects our young people from the danger of drugs.”
Family’s vow over ‘legal high’ drugs danger (5-MeO-DALT death)