Page last updated at 19:19 GMT, Thursday, 23 October 2008 20:19 UK

Plea over daughter's drug death

Haniska Pett
Haniska Pett's parents said they had warned her not to take illegal drugs

The family of a 20-year-old Kent hairdresser who died after taking cocaine have urged other people not to risk their lives with the illegal drug.

Haniska Pett died in Darent Valley Hospital on Sunday after suffering a fit after she took cocaine at a house near her home in Gravesend.

Her brother, Joe, 22, was called to help Haniska when she was taken ill.

"I couldn't handle it and I had to call the ambulance," he said. "I tried everything to keep her talking to me."

Their parents Angela and Ian Pett tried to warn Haniska about the dangers of drugs and are holding a candle-lit vigil next Sunday to alert others.

The kids think they can take this and they can be Superman or Superwoman
Haniska Pett's mother Angela

They spoke out on Thursday, the same day they formally identified their daughter's body.

"Drugs are awful, absolutely awful," said Mrs Pett.

"Cocaine is the worst, because people think you can't die from taking it.

"The kids think they can take this and they can be Superman or Superwoman.

"They think heroin is the only thing that can kill them and it's not - cocaine kills. It has killed my daughter."

Mr Pett said the dealers who supplied the drug were "scum".

'Cocaine explosion'

Drugs advisor Lindsey Smith, a former user himself, said cocaine misuse had been a growing problem in north Kent in recent years.

"We have seen an explosion of cocaine use," he said.

"It has spread beyond the traditional user groups to the mainstream drinking groups in the pubs and clubs.

"I am coming across people now who are saying cocaine isn't really a drug, just something you take when you are drinking to keep you sober longer.

"I try to explain to them that they never know what they are buying.

"There are a number of cuts and additives in it to increase dealers' profit margins."

Kent Police said its investigation into Miss Pett's death was ongoing.

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Her family urge others not to risk their lives




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