A TEENAGE boy from Hampshire has lost his fight for life after taking a legal high.

The 17-year-old died yesterday morning after spending four days in intensive care at Southampton General Hospital after consuming the drug, known as alpha-methyltryptamine (AMT).

He had also taken etizolam, which is often used as a short term treament for insomnia and anxiety or panic attacks.

As reported by the Daily Echo, the 18-year-old from Southampton was in a medically-induced coma after swallowing the pill, used as an anti-depressant, last Wednesday. He was found collapsed in his bedroom by his mother, who called 999.

The substance is known to have euphoric and psychedelic effects and stimulates the body's cardiovascular system by increasing heart rate and blood pressure.

But it can also cause anxiety, restlessness, muscle tension, headaches, nausea and vomiting.

The boy, who has not yet been named, had ordered the drug on the Internet and it was bought from Holland.

A post-mortem examination to help establish the exact cause of death is due to be held later this week and police will prepare a file for HM Coroner.

Police have urged people to heed the dangers of the deadly drug which has now claimed the lives of three people in Hampshire in the past year.

Trainee doctor Doug Ferguson, 19, from Chandler's Ford, died after taking the drug in June last year.

He was taken ill at a house in Heathfield Road and later died in hospital.

The former student at Peter Symonds in Winchester and Thornden School, Eastleigh, lived in Cranford Gardens, Chandler's Ford.

Married father William Nutter, 32, from Andover, died after consuming AMT the following month. He had also bought it online.

Last month Christopher Scott, 23, from Swindon in Wiltshire, also died after taking a small green pill with a dollar sign on it which was later found to be AMT.

Detective Constable Jonathan Hyland, of Hampshire police, warned: “The clear issue is that people who state they have a strong view about not taking controlled drugs are importing and purchasing drugs which they read online are a substitute for controlled drugs.

“People incorrectly believe that these 'legal highs' are then both safe and appropriate alternatives to street drugs.

“Just because something is not illegal does not make it safe.

“It only becomes clear it is not safe when someone becomes severely harmed by taking it and subsequent investigations reveal substances within the compound can be lethal.

“If you are considering taking any type of non personally prescribed drug, I would urge you to consider for a few minutes - before you use the substance - how your family would feel, finding you in need of critical medical attention.”

Superintendent Ben Snuggs added: “This is a very sad time for this young man’s family and our thoughts and condolences are with them.

"At this stage we don’t know the exact cause of his death. We understand he had told his mother he’d taken a psychoactive substance known as AMT so this will naturally form part of our enquiries.

“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.

“This is the third extremely serious case involving AMT in Hampshire since last year. I would therefore urge people who are considering taking any type of non-personally prescribed drug to think very carefully about the potential consequences.”