[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 August, 2003, 17:41 GMT 18:41 UK
Student died after buying web drugs
Liam was a promising student at Durham University
Liam was a promising student at Durham University
The mother of a Durham University student who committed suicide while in a "drug-induced" depression, has spoken out against companies who sell prescription drugs on the Internet.

Sue Brackell called on the government to address the problem of unregulated websites selling drugs, after an inquest into the death of her son Liam.

The hearing was told the bright, graduate student, from Wanstead, east London, had regularly taken anti-depressants ordered from websites, and by the time of his death had tried 23 types of prescription drugs.

The 24-year-old, walked in front of an oncoming train at Manor Park Station, near his home on 7 June.

An inquest heard that the student had taken ecstasy, cannabis and magic mushrooms when he was a student at Durham University "to make him feel better about himself".

But after returning to the family home to study for his finals in April 2000, he ordered large amounts of prescription drugs over the Internet such as Valium and codeine.

Vulnerable people

A jury at Walthamstow Coroner's Court returned a verdict that he killed himself, while suffering from a depressive illness.

Afterwards, Mrs Brackell said: "These companies are cynically manipulating vulnerable people who are desperate.

"If the government persist in their refusal to address this problem, lives will continue to be destroyed by unscrupulous profiteers who are given free reign to peddle and push their drugs.

"I felt I was tiny compared to the Internet. It's an invisible enemy."

The drugs Liam bought were being sold by foreign websites, which are not regulated by the Medicines and Health Care Products Regulatory Agency as they are in the UK.

Mrs Brackell added: "We want them closed down. I don't think there's any way of stopping them re-opening though.

"I knew that Liam was taking an enormous number of different drugs, possibly as many as nine varieties, and I was really scared so I put all my efforts into trying to reason with him and prevent him."

In July last year Liam, a talented musician who had three A-grade A levels and a degree in maths, was sectioned under the Mental Health Act for 72 hours after running in front of a bus.

Doctors diagnosed a "drug-induced psychosis" and in his diary, he wrote: "Still getting delusional thoughts - worst fears - dying painfully, having to keep reliving my life again and again, voices encouraging me to kill myself."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific