DEADLY new drug PMA has claimed its first life in the UK after a Merseyside man died.
Lee Monaghan, 29, of Grafton Street, Toxteth, died on June 8 after taking para-methoxyamphetamine, or PMA, a potent hallucinogenic which dangerously overstimulates the nervous system.
It is thought he was its first victim in the UK.
At a Liverpool inquest yesterday, deputy coroner Douglas Fraser urged the public to “resist the temptation” to try the potentially fatal pills or powder.
Lee’s family also spoke out to appeal to other young people not to seek the high which killed the much-loved “gentle giant”, whose funeral at All Hallows Church, in Allerton, was attended by hundreds of mourners.
Pathologist Dr Jonathan Medcalf, who carried out a post mortem on Lee, said PMA – also known by the street name “cloverleaf” – is a hallucinogenic similar to MDMA or ecstasy.
The inquest yesterday heard a statement from his brother Craig, who described how Mr Monaghan was behaving strangely in the hours leading up to his death.
The 6ft 6in, 27-stone man, who had no underlying medical conditions, was reported to have been “seeing things” in the hours before he was found at home suffering breathing difficulties shortly after 2pm.
Mr Monaghan’s brother called an ambulance but he died later the same day.
Small plastic bags containing powder were recovered from Mr Monaghan’s bedroom and found to contain PMA and cocaine.
Dr Medcalf said Mr Monaghan had a fatal concentration of PMA, which he called a “potent hallucinogen”, in his system when he died, as well as traces of alcohol and cocaine.
The pathologist added it was the first time he or any of his colleagues had come across the drug in their careers.
Mr Fraser said he was concerned that PMA had appeared in Merseyside.
He recorded a verdict of death due to non-dependent use of drugs, adding: “I have no power to stop anyone tempted to try this new drug.
“However I would urge people tempted to resist that temptation and look at what happened to Lee Monaghan.
“It could be them next.”
Mr Fraser also praised an investigation by Merseyside police to target the source of supply and get the deadly drug off the streets.
Speaking after the inquest, Lee’s mother Rita told the ECHO she wanted to make sure other people knew the dangers of PMA.
She said: “Lee was not drug-dependent – he took this once and it killed him.
“I want other people to know just how dangerous it is and if anyone is thinking about using it to see what happened to my son.
“I don’t want another family to have to go through this.”
by John Sutton, Liverpool Echo
Aug 19 2011
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