Drugs being designed to appeal to children, mother says after girls fall ill

A mother whose 16-year-old son died after taking ecstasy said that drugs are being designed to appeal to children after three 12-year-old girls were rushed to hospital after taking "Teddy Tablets".

Fiona Spargo-Mabbs, whose son Daniel died after taking MDMA at an illegal rave in London in 2014, said that children need more awareness on drugs.

On Saturday evening, the three girls were rushed to hospital in a serious condition after taking the tablets in Salford, Greater Manchester.

Mrs Spargo-Mabbs, from Croydon, south London, said conversations about drugs needed to be "open and frank".

Her son Daniel died of multiple organ failure three days after taking MDMA, or ecstasy, when he went to a rave in Hayes, west London. He was among five friends who had clubbed together £80 to buy the class A drug before the party.

She said: "It's just so awful, they are just so young. I know what it's like being in the hospital, the awfulness of not knowing. I'm so relieved that hopefully they are going to be OK."

Following Daniel's death, Mrs Spargo-Mabbs and her husband Tim set up the Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation to make youngsters aware of the dangers of drug abuse and take their drug awareness programmes into schools.

She added: "For most young people, even if they know it is ecstasy, they are not going to understand what that means. They look like sweets and are designed to appeal to kids - there has been ones shaped like Lego bricks, ones called Rockstar. They are designed to appeal to young people."

One of the girls was due to be discharged from hospital on Monday, while the other two remain in a stable condition.

Greater Manchester Police confirmed that a 22-year-old man and 21-year-old woman who were arrested on suspicion of being in possession of a controlled substance have been bailed until July 15.

They warned people to stay away from the party drug - which has already led to the death of a 22-year-old woman in recent weeks and a 17-year-old girl a few months ago.

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Walker, of GMP's Salford Borough, said: "The girls took a type of ecstasy described as 'Teddy Tablets'.

"It is imperative young people understand the implications and avoid taking drugs, to stop any more young people ending up in hospital."

Mrs Spargo-Mabbs added that she believed that young people were using ecstasy more because of its availability and cost, but stressed that the drugs were "much stronger".

She added that parents needed to keep conversations about drugs "open and frank" and said youngsters needed to be armed with life skills to be able to navigate peer pressure.

"It's just ecstasy in a different form but it has all the same risks. They have no kind of awareness how strong it is. A 12-year-old's body is really small and not able to cope."

Anyone in possession of illegal substances is urged to hand them in to police, chemists or medical practitioners.

For help or advice on all drugs, contact the Talk To Frank service on 0800 777 6600 or at www.talktofrank.com.