Letter: To the pro-legalisation lobby: stop using my daughter's name death

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The Independent Online
John Marks, chairman of the Drug Policy Review Group claims that we, the family of Leah Betts, have been "used by the prohibitionists" ("Turning on a chemical generation", 9 February).

May I make it clear that Paul and I are quite capable of reasoning logical arguments for ourselves, and are used by no one. If anyone is using Leah's name, it is people like Marks, clutching at a high-profile straw they know may be recognisable to the public. He goes on to say that "no self-respecting pathologist would say MDMA - the chemical essence of Ecstasy - causes deaths". Let him say that to Dr John Henry, the expert in Ecstasy at Guy's Hospital, who describes it as a highly neurotoxic drug. Or to the Home Office pathologist who performed the post-mortem on Leah and said: "Leah died from Ecstasy poisoning; anything else was as a consequence of taking Ecstasy."

Any "self-respecting" doctor or nurse who has worked in casualty, as I have in the past, will tell you that if you arrive with warfarin poisoning, the medics will have far more idea how to treat you than if you had Ecstasy poisoning. There is no safe way to take E, and no antidote. All you can do is to monitor the patient, and treat the symptoms.

For every famous name that a journalist can dredge up who is pro-legalisation, I can produce hundreds of ordinary people who are not; not well-known people, but ordinary citizens. I have spent half my working life dishing out controlled substances in a medical setting, usually to keep people who are in pain out of it until they pass away. That is the correct use of these drugs.

And I wish so-called experts would stop using our daughter's name to spread misinformation.

Janet Betts (mother of Leah)

Latchingdon, Essex

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