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Family's warning after son died weeks after starting to experiment with drugs
HE was a son to be proud of who had his whole future ahead of him.
From playing rugby with his team Fawley RC to nearing the end of his electrical apprenticeship, Ryan Phelps was making the most of his life and was planning to travel and work abroad.
But his future was cut short by drugs.
The 22-year-old from Hythe suffered a heart attack after taking a mixture of a new psychedelic drug DOC and heroin, just weeks after he first started dabbling with drugs.
His family were unaware that Ryan, who was just a year away from finishing his electrical apprenticeship with Scottish Southern Electric (SSE), had fallen in with another crowd and had started experimenting with drugs.
Dad Roy, mum Lesley and stepdad Carl Kells hope that Ryan’s death will be a warning to others that drugs can be fatal, even if you are trying them for the first time.
In a joint statement they said: “Ryan was a son to be proud of.
“His tragic death has left a big hole in the lives of his family and friends; a hole that can never be filled.
“We would hope that anyone thinking of trying any drugs will realise from Ryan’s death that you can never be sure what is in them or the effects they will have and that it can take very little time before you can be in too deep with disastrous consequences.”
Ryan had spent the day with his friend Richard John, who admitted to police that he gave Ryan the DOC tablet but after they both started to feel unwell, he injected Ryan with heroin in the hope of reversing the effect of the DOC, despite Ryan having a bad reaction to it a week earlier.
Friends told police that he spent the rest of the day asleep on the sofa, until hours later when they noticed he had stopped breathing and called an ambulance.
Deputy coroner Gordon Denson recorded a verdict that Ryan’s death was due to a brain injury as a result of a cardiac arrest following alcohol and mixed drug use.
Earlier this month Richard John pleaded guilty to a number of drugs charges and was jailed for a total of four years.
Fawley RC have mounted Ryan’s framed shirt in the clubhouse and his colleagues at SSE and DSL scaffolding, along with his rugby team-mates, raised money in his memory for MENCAP.