Leader: ‘Education is key to stop more tragedies’

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EVERY parent worries about their child being tempted by drugs.

It only takes a split second, irrational decision for an otherwise intelligent youngster to become another statistic.

The warnings are of course drummed into children from an early age but when the substance can be obtained legally, it is even more terrifying.

Today we report the tragic story of Andrew Lourie, a popular, bright young man with his whole life ahead of him. He was living away from his Edinburgh home, no doubt enjoying his independence as he embarked on a marine engineering course in Tyneside.

While the exact circumstances surrounding his death remain unclear, police have issued a warning over so-called “legal highs” in the wake of the tragedy.

Until toxicology reports are completed, we will not know for sure whether Andrew had indeed taken a substance that fatal night nor whether that was the cause of his death.

But even the suggestion is enough to once again ring alarm bells.

The Government can take action and indeed already has by banning substances such as mephedrone after several people died soon after taking it. Anyone caught peddling it can now expect to feel the full force of the law.

The problem is almost as soon as one substance is banned, another variation will be developed to get round the rules.

Following the outlawing of mephedrone, Ivory Wave came to prominence and the Evening News reported how 20 people were hospitalised in a week after taking what was billed as “the strongest party powder there is”.

Health experts warn that legal substances on the market now can cause a range of life-threatening problems such as kidney failure, seizures, and muscle damage.

So what can be done? The answer lies again in education. Youngsters being given the facts – that “legal” doesn’t mean “safe” – and being armed with as much up-to-date information as possible, at least until the law can catch-up.

That won’t stop the worry of course.