Hyndburn’s MP is preparing to bring the Observer’s fight against killer cocaine to Parliament once it resumes after the summer recess.
Graham Jones is in the process of drafting an Early Day Motion (EDM) to submit to the House of Commons after meeting with Andrea Adamson, from Oswaldtwistle, whose son Adam Cowell was one 17 young people in the Hyndburn area to die in nine months as a result of the dangerous Class A drug.
While the wording is still being fine-tuned, the MP wants to raise the issue in Parliament of ‘ruthless thugs’ in Hyndburn selling the drug, and widen the debate to look at the international supply chain and ‘misery’ in the South American countries where it often originates.
Mr Jones said: “I have asked my staff to table an EDM on cocaine, the impacts in the UK and the impacts it has on communities in Latin and Central America.
“In my time as the MP I have frequently had to deal with the supply of drugs and their consequences.
“Everyone thinks that it is somebody else’s child that is taking drugs. That their child wouldn’t take drugs.
“For any parent whose child has an addiction or is consuming drugs it can be devastating, destroying lives. It is also a myth to believe that it is only poor kids that take drugs.
“I work closely with the police and any intelligence that is provided to me is passed on to them.”
He added: “As long as someone is willing to pay for drugs, there will be ruthless thugs in Hyndburn willing to sell them.
“There will be organised criminals in the region willing to import them. And in the case of cocaine, the misery it causes in Latin America is unquantifiable.
“Death, torture, disappearance as the most violent criminals and cartels fight for the proceeds of Hyndburn’s drug suppliers and users.
“I want other MPs to sign it so I will look at the wording closely when I get back in September.”
Andrea says she is also now hoping to take Adam’s story into schools and work with charities to prevent more youngsters dying from the drug. She said: “I have met with MP Graham Jones and am glad that he is putting actions in place to debate tougher sentences for dealers and punishments for users along with more policing.
“I am now looking to help others in my situation and raise awareness with younger people who have not yet been exposed to drugs.”
The Observer has launched a campaign to highlight the devastating toll that cocaine is taking on our communities.
We have joined forces with coroner Michael Singleton to launch our Killer Cocaine: Stop the Deaths campaign after he warned that deaths caused by this evil drug have reached epidemic levels.
In the last nine months alone the number of people officially recorded as having lost their lives in the Hyndburn area as a result of using cocaine has risen to 17.
The youngest was 16 years old, the oldest just 33.
These are just the cases to have reached the coroner and it is thought that the actual number could be much higher.
Mr Singleton is at a loss to explain why this epidemic is occurring here and now in Accrington, but it is thought increased availability or a drop in price could be to blame.
We are calling on all sections of the Hyndburn community to pull together to take this evil drug off our streets.
So please watch out for signs of cocaine use, make sure your loved ones are aware of the dangers and give the police the information they need to bring down the dealers profiting from this deadly powder.
What you can do to help:
l Educate yourself and others – National organisations such as Frank offer detailed explanations of what the short-term and long-term effects of drug use are and the risks.
l Talk openly about it – Speak to friends and family and create an honest dialogue about drug use.
l Spot signs of use –
Cocaine can change people’s personality. In the short term cocaine can make a user feel confident and wide awake. But repeated use can cause agitated behaviour, mood swings, severe addiction and heart attacks.
l Offer support – If you are concerned someone you know is taking cocaine, offer support or encourage them to get help.
l Seek help and advice – Confidential 24-hour chatlines and local services are open for anyone with concerns.
l Alert police – if you suspect someone might be dealing drugs, tell police on 101 or anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.