Ray Lakeman – whose two sons Jacques, 20, and Torin, 19, died after taking “five to six times” the lethal dose of ecstasy – tells Sky News why he is fighting for drug regulations to be rewritten.
The new report released today deeply saddens me. Nobody expects their children to die before them.
Unfortunately that is my experience.
On 3 December 2014 I was due to travel to London.
I planned to visit my son Jacques who had recently moved to London to find work.
I did see Jacques that day, but not in London.
Instead he was lying on a mortuary slab in the Royal Bolton Hospital beside his younger brother, Torin.
Jacques had just moved to London where he was a budding chef and a talented guitarist.
Torin was at Aberystwth University where he studied physics and astro science.
The pair had booked a room above a pub in Bolton as part of a trip to watch their team, Manchester United, play on 29 November.
Sadly they were found dead in the room two days later.
We first knew something was wrong when Jacques did not arrive at his grandmother’s as he had planned – I knew he would never let her down.
We reported the boys missing and spent the night trying to get in touch with them, awaiting a call that never came.
The next evening police knocked on our door – and I knew immediately they had died.
An inquest revealed they had died of an overdose of MDMA – the active ingredient in ecstasy tablets – that Torin had bought on the Dark Web.
Toxicology tests revealed they had taken “five to six” times the lethal dose of the drug.
The devastation their deaths brought to my family and friends is incalculable.
Nobody should have to endure it, but it is preventable.
Jacques and Torin were beautiful, creative, intelligent and sensitive boys.
They had everything to live for, but like so many others, despite knowing drugs were potentially dangerous and illegal, enjoyed their effects.
That is the reality of drug usage and society needs to accept reality.
I do not condone drug usage but clearly the current legislation does not work.
There is no doubt they are dangerous, they killed my sons, but they are more dangerous than they need to be because they are illegal.
Criminals produce, adulterate and strengthen the content and they have no concern for the user – only their profit.
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I’d rather that doctors, pharmacies and licensed retailers were put in charge than the market being 100% controlled by criminals.
Only the Government can change this.
:: Ray is a member of Anyone’s Child: Families for Safer Drug Control, an international network of families whose lives have been wrecked by current drug laws and are now campaigning for the legal control and regulation of drugs.