‘Regrading it would send out right message’

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Even set against the litany of drugs casualties that the Lothians has seen in recent years, Suzanne Auld’s story is a frightening one.

Luckily, the 27-year-old escaped the violent and sustained attack by her boyfriend, Graham Lowrie, with her life, but she will bear the scars, both physical and mental, for the rest of her life.

But the most disturbing aspect of this sorry tale is the dramatic change in Lowrie’s personality after his body became gripped by the drug GHB, also known as liquid ecstasy.

Once a kind and caring partner, he became a violent brute, his mind so unhinged that he thought his girlfriend had become possessed by the malevolent spirit of his dead friend.

The grotesque transformation sounds like a passage from that Edinburgh masterpiece of horror Jekyll and Hyde, or a work of modern science fiction.

But even though the effects of GHB may not be well-known to the wider public, they are all too familiar to the medics who are often left to pick up the pieces.

The drug is so powerful that experts warn it can be more destructive than heroin or cocaine, with the psychosis caused by withdrawal the biggest danger.

Yet GHB remains freely available via the internet and many drug users believe it is a relatively harmless drug.

What can be done to address the dangers? Education about the risks is certainly key.

But the time is right to look again at its classification as a Class C illegal drug. Its effects can be more dangerous than some Class A substances. Regrading it would send out a powerful message about the risks involved.

Best Barr none

If there is one person Hearts fans wouldn’t begrudge a sunshine holiday, it is Scottish Cup goal hero Darren Barr.

But instead of heading for the beach, the player took time out to visit injured fan Jimmy Campbell after the Evening News revealed how he had been left in hospital after being crushed by a supporters bus outside Hampden. Jimmy even got to have his photograph taken with the Scottish Cup at his hospital bedside.

Too often footballers are in the headlines for the wrong reasons, so it is great to see Darren making such an effort.

Well done to him, and get well soon, Jimmy.