They share a tragic and heartbreaking bond, their children cruelly snatched from them by the party drug ecstasy.
But remarkably, these three mums tell the Sunday Mirror that they want MDMA to be legalised.
They share their pain as deaths hit an all-time high. In 1993 the deaths of 12 people were officially linked to the Class A drug.
By 2016 that number was 57. And drugs charities say the crisis is getting worse.
It is almost 24 years since the death of Leah Betts rocked the nation.
Leah, from Latchingdon, Essex, died from a single ecstasy tablet taken at her 18th birthday party.
A grim photo released by the family showed Leah on life support, before her life ebbed away. Yet more tragedies would follow.
Just two weeks ago, 15-year-old namesake Leah Heyes died the same way, collapsing in a car park in Northallerton, North Yorks.
Experts warn summer poses a higher risk as post-exam students are confronted with extra-strength pills and contaminated drugs.
Campaigners believe that if ecstasy were legalised, maximum toxicity levels could drastically reduce accidental overdose.
They also believe that if contents were regulated, tested and labelled, deaths from reactions to rogue ingredients in the pills would fall.
But experts say legalisation would lead to even more problems.
A final letter then Luke was gone
Tomorrow marks two harrowing years since Luke Campbell died after taking MDMA on a night out to mark his final days of school.
His mum Claire, 56, and sister Esther were with him when he died.
The 16-year-old had been rushed to hospital with a temperature above 40ºC.
Revealing the unimaginably painful experience, Claire told how when she got to hospital she was asked about any identifiable marks on her son to check it was him.
The mum, of North Devon, said: “Esther, Luke and I got the same tattoo while in Thailand.
When they asked me about identifying marks, I can remember pulling the back of my T-shirt up so that they could see it.
“People were around Luke and working on him. I got a text from his friend asking how he was and I had to say it wasn’t looking good.
“He was moved to intensive care and doctors continued to work on him, trying to get his blood pressure up with adrenaline.
“We were in the family room and the emergency doctor that was caring for Luke came in and said, ‘Come quickly’.
I thought he’d woken up – she gently shook her head and turned his life support off.
There was nothing more that they could do for him. As he died, a single tear rolled from his eye and I touched it to keep it.”
Luke had been at an under-18s club night when he’d taken the Tesla ecstasy tablet.
An investigation showed the pills had been bought from the dark web.
Remarkably, the family do not blame the boys – Luke’s friends – who supplied him with the drug.
Claire and Esther, 25, wrote a victim impact statement to the judge when they appeared in court, urging him to be lenient.
They said: “The knowledge of Luke’s death will be with them for ever more. It seems to us that is, itself, a heavy price for them to pay for their actions.”
Instead, Esther and Claire blame the criminalisation of drugs which prevents them from being regulated.
They say targeting small-time dealers is not the answer – and back campaign calls for drugs to be regulated and education to be offered in schools.
Claire said: “Without them being regulated, it’s impossible to have an honest conversation about them.
I’ve learned so much in two years, but it’s counter-productive my son had to die for that to happen.
“It’s time to change the law.”
Esther believes a system where drugs were legalised and properly regulated could have saved Luke.
She said: “On that night, if Luke had known harm prevention, to take half, to go slowly, things might have been different.
“When someone is drunk, people spot the signs and know how to help. Why should it be any different with drugs?”
Labelling pills could have saved my beloved son Ben
Nadia Rees holds a treasured photo of her son Ben as she tells how he died after taking an MDMA pill while on holiday with friends.
Aspiring DJ Ben, 23, was in Berlin when he took ecstasy and fell ill.
He became separated from his group of pals but managed to make his way to a train station, where two strangers took him under their wing.
They comforted him at their hostel, then realised he needed urgent attention and called an ambulance.
Ben suffered two cardiac arrests and didn’t survive.
Nadia, 56, from Aberdare, South Wales, said: “The girls who got him to hospital – I thank God they didn’t leave him at the train station because he could have been dead in the car park or on the platform.
Young people think they are taking drugs to have a good time and they end up dying alone in a park under a tree.”
Nadia believes the current “war on drugs” isn’t working and is sick of seeing young people die.
She added: “Kids as young as 13 are dying from ecstasy.
It’s much easier to get drugs than it is alcohol – you need ID for that.
“The only people who are protected through this are the top end of the chain.
“The boy selling drugs on his bike in the park – don’t criminalise him.
Prohibition doesn’t work, they make it stronger and smaller because it’s easier to get out there.”
Nadia believes if drugs were regulated and properly labelled, deaths like Ben’s and recent schoolgirl victim Leah Hayes, 15, could be prevented.
She added: “If Ben had known what was in the pills he took, he wouldn’t be dead now, and nor would Leah.”
It's wrong to lose a child to drugs, why do we allow it?
Staring at the monitor as her daughter’s heartbeat flatlined, Anne-Marie Cockburn prayed for any flicker of life.
Just hours earlier, she and 15-year-old Martha Fernback had excitedly exchanged texts about family trips over the summer.
But by the time Anne-Marie reached hospital, her precious girl had been dead for 45 minutes, killed by half a gram of MDMA – which was enough of the drug for up to 10 people.
Anne-Marie, 48, recalled that harrowing moment.
She said: “I glided down the corridor with two nurses holding me up.
I looked at the monitor and I prayed for another beat of her heart.
They kept working on her but told me she’d not had a pulse for 45 minutes – ‘What would you like to do now’?
“Losing a child is the ultimate burglary. It’s so unnatural for her not to be here.”
Anne-Marie is a member of the Anyone’s Child movement and wants MDMA, the drug that killed Martha, legalised.
The international group of families is lobbying for radical reforms which they believe could stop more teens dying.
Anne-Marie, from Oxford, added: “Martha left one morning and all I got back was her bag with a pair of trainers in.
It’s not okay that she didn’t come home, or that children have such access to drugs. Why are we leaving this to happen?
No substance is made safer by leaving it unregulated.” Martha had researched on the internet how to take drugs safely.
Anne-Marie says drugs should be regulated like alcohol is. She continued: “If I want a drink I’d never buy a blank bottle without a label.
You can’t fully educate young people like you can on alcohol. With drugs you have to say ‘It might be this, it might be that’. It’s very difficult.”
Legalised highs… is it right?
By Anyone's Child Campaign Group
Anyone's Child is an international group of families campaigning to change drugs laws which have wrecked our lives.
Illegal drugs are currently manufactured and distributed solely by criminals.
There is no minimum age, no quality control standards and no duty of care.
Our vision is that control of all drugs would instead be the responsibility of medical professionals, such as doctors and pharmacists.
We believe that our drug laws need to protect our children.
That’s why we urgently need a new approach to keep all of our families safe.
That’s why we are heading to Parliament on June 25 to meet with MPs to call for an end to the drug war.
Please join us.
By Kevin Sabet – Drug Policy Expert
Legalising drugs makes it more likely for people to die of an overdose.
As an example, alcohol overdose and deaths are much more common than heroin because alcohol is legal, highly commercialised, normalised, and thus much more common than heroin.
Why would we want to normalise MDMA further and thus drive up harm?
MDMA is inherently deadly – pure or impure.
It is a myth that it can be used safely.
There really is no safe dose of these deadly drugs.
We need to stop drug use before it starts. Where that fails we must treat the addicted.
And don’t forget the black market thrives under legalisation.
There will continue to be dealers who seek to undercut the price of legal drugs.
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