The father of a teenager who died after taking party pill ‘mexxy’ yesterday (Thurs) welcomed the legal high being outlawed.
Hugo Wenn, 17, drowned in Reed Pond in Canterbury, Kent, with friend Daniel Lloyd, 25, after they both took methoxetamine.
His father Robert Wenn said Government plans to classify it as a class B drug – the same as cannabis – is a “step in the right direction.”
The grieving dad said it was “farcical” that Hugo, who would have been 18 on Tuesday, was able to get hold of the drug.
Mr Wenn, from Barham, Kent, said: “Instead of celebrating Hugo’s special birthday this week, it was a painful day for all the family and instead of birthday cards we had ones of remembrance.
“Of course, it is a step in the right direction but too little too late for us.
“It’s farcical that these party pills have ever been allowed to be openly on sale in the first place and that it takes tragedies like that of Hugo for the government to sit up and take notice.
“But, of course, we do welcome that the issue is now being taken seriously. It’s no less than we would expect.”
A post mortem revealed part-time gardener Hugo, from Barham, Kent, and busker Daniel, from Wincheap, Kent, died from drowning after the incident in January.
But inquest in September concluded the drug had contributed to their deaths and a coroner recorded verdicts of misadventure in both cases.
Methoxetamine, also known as MXE, or mexxy, has similar chemical properties to ketamine, which is illegal.
It was made subject to a new temporary banning order imposed in March pending an investigation by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.
The Home Office yesterday (Thurs) also announced two other substances, Black Mamba and Krypton, have become class B drugs.
Methoxetamine will continue to be banned until both the Houses of Commons and Lords have debated the issue and the substances. It is expected to become illegal this winter.
Crime prevention minister Jeremy Browne said: “High quality scientific advice is vital to the government’s ongoing work to tackle harmful drug use.
“The independent advice we receive from the ACMD is critical to our evidence-based drugs policy.
“The UK is addressing the harm caused by ‘legal highs’ by outlawing not just individual drugs, but whole families of related substances that have the potential to cause serious harm.
“People who take ‘legal highs’ are taking serious risks with their lives because often they do not know what they are taking and the drugs may contain harmful substances.”