Methadone bottle found at children’s play area

Amanda Hughes and her children
Amanda Hughes and her children
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A BOTTLE of methadone has been discovered in a children’s play area – just streets away from where a two-year-old died after drinking the lethal drug.

Mother-of-two Amanda Hughes said she snatched the heroin substitute away from children who were playing on the grassy patch ten yards from her front door and handed it into police.

Though secured with a cap, the 270ml vial still contained around a tenth of its contents and could have been fatal if consumed by a child.

Ms Hughes, who lives in Elphinstone, East Lothian, said prescribed methadone remained a sensitive topic in the village following the tragic death of Derek Doran in 2005.

Two-year-old Derek was found dead at his home after suffering a methadone overdose, sparking calls to tighten controls on the way methadone is administered.

Ms Hughes, 38, said more must be done to restrict access to the drug: “I found it in a big grass area that our houses circle around and where the children like to play. My daughter and her friends were in there and had kneeled down to pick up the methadone when I ran over and grabbed it.

“There was still some liquid in it, so I did some research and found that 20 to 30ml would be enough to kill a child.

“Because of the death of Derek Doran and because this is such a close-knit community everyone is very, very angry about what happened.”

Ms Hughes, who lives with two daughters aged nine and seven, said methadone 
users should not be allowed to 
consume the drug outwith chemists or pharmacies.

“Since I found this on my lawn, what everyone is asking is: ‘Why did the chemist allow this person to take this amount of methadone home with her?’

“I have never seen a bottle so big being allowed to leave the premises of a chemist.”

And she added: “My concern is that this could happen again, my seven-year-old daughter nearly picked it up. Tensions are high about methadone in this village. I can’t understand after the experience with Derek Doran’s death why the council is still housing drug addicts in Elphinstone.”

Ward councillor Jim Gillie vowed to raise the problem with police. He said: “I’m shocked to hear about this as it’s not the sort of thing you want to have lying around in reach of children. I will speak to police about this and see what action they can take.”

A police spokesman said: “Lothian and Borders Police collected a bottle of prescription methadone from a property in Cinderhall Place, Elphinstone on Thursday afternoon.

“We would like to take this opportunity to remind anyone who finds prescription medication to either contact police or hand it in to a pharmacy as soon as possible.”