Rave death mourners warned drug abuse 'is destroying young Scots'

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The Independent Online
MOURNERS at the funeral of Andrew Stoddart, the 20-year-old who died after taking drugs at the Hanger 13 rave club in Ayr last weekend, were told yesterday that a generation of young Scots was being 'destroyed' by drug abuse, writes John Arlidge.

At Rigside Parish Church in Lanarkshire, where relatives and friends gathered to remember the former van driver who collapsed after taking Ecstasy-type tablets, the local Church of Scotland minister said that his 'wicked' death should serve as a warning to youngsters and their parents.

The Rev Lawrie Lennox told the 140- strong congregation: 'What happeneed to Andrew could have happened to anyone among hundreds that night. No parents in the land dare look down on Andrew's mum and dad, or claim, 'It could never happen to our youngster'.'

Mr Stoddart's death - the third drugs- related fatality at the seafront venue this year - was 'a wicked waste', the Rev Lennox said. 'He was not on a downward path of addiction leading to a predictable end. He had a good home, good prospects, good friends.'

Young Scots were set an 'appalling example by those who should be heroes and models', while dealers 'who seek gain and have no conscience' were exploiting naive clubgoers. 'There are great pressures on all young people today. They are tempted and exploited. They are bombarded by messages of reckless freedom, voices that say 'Go on, do it'.'

But, he added: 'There is another voice speaking today. It's from Andrew's friends and community and it's saying to young people, 'For God's sake, waken up to the danger. Use the name of Andrew Stoddart as a warning signal. Repeat it to yourself, and hold back'.'

Police investigating Mr Stoddart's death said yesterday that their decision to grant Hanger 13 clubgoers immunity from prosecution for drugs offences had encouraged ravers to come forward with information about local dealers.

Drugs and raves, page 27

(Photograph omitted)

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