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Legal high dealers 'should be prosecuted' after latest death linked to AMT in Southampton
AN MP has today led calls for the Government to spearhead a European bid to prosecute businesses that sell deadly “legal highs” that have claimed the lives of three Hampshire men in just a year.
The move comes after a Southampton teenager became the latest victim to die from taking a so-called ‘party drug’ which he ordered on the Internet.
Former St George’s Catholic School pupil Adam Hunt lost his fight for life on Sunday – five days after falling seriously ill after consuming alpha-methyltryptamine (AMT) and etizolam.
His mum found the 18-year-old Saints fan collapsed in his bedroom at their home in Millbrook Road East, with AMT packaging, which the teen bought from Holland, nearby.
He was taken to Southampton General Hospital, where he remained in a critical condition before he died on Sunday morning.
A post-mortem examination is due to be carried out later this week but police have said that traces of both drugs, known as psychoactive substances, were found in his system.
Mr Hunt is the third person to die as a result of taking a legal high in the county in the past 12 months.
Last June trainee doctor Doug Ferguson, 19, became seriously ill at a house in Heathfield Road, Chandler’s Ford, after consuming AMT. The teenager, a former student at Peter Symonds in Winchester and Thornden School, Eastleigh, later died in hospital.
Married dad William Nutter, 32, from Andover, died after taking the same drug just a month later.
AMT remains a legal drug in the UK, although it has been classed as a controlled substance in other countries, including America.
Having been created as a form of anti-depressant in the 1960s, it resurfaced in the 1990s as a recreational drug.
Just last year an East Somerset coroner led calls for AMT to become a banned substance following the death of a 21-year-old man.
He told the Daily Echo: “I would suggest to the Government that we need a concerted attempt to use every legal move we can to bring these people down if they can be identified as selling these drugs. We need to take the profit out of it and throw the book at people.
“Only part of the answer is regulation and there does need to be more education. The very phrase ‘legal high’ is dangerous because it gives the impression that it must be OK as otherwise it would be banned.”
Hampshire police echoed the warning.
Supt Ben Snuggs said: “This tragic death shows how important it is that people realise the dangers associated with taking ‘legal highs’. They are not necessarily safe and sometimes have been shown to contain potentially lethal substances.”
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