Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Drug Alert Follows Pals' Tragic Deaths; Young People Warned over 'Meow Meow'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Drug Alert Follows Pals' Tragic Deaths; Young People Warned over 'Meow Meow'

Article excerpt

Byline: Dave Black

ACORONER has warned young people of the dangers of the drug mephedrone as it emerged two Northumberland friends who died from hanging had taken it.

Assistant deputy coroner for South Northumberland Paul Dunn spoke out at in inquest into the deaths of Christopher Harrington, 20, and Kieran Kenny, 19, of Cramlington, who found hanging in woods near the town on the morning of July 27 last year.

Mr Dunn told the inquest that a post mortem revealed both men had recently been drinking alcohol and taken mephedrone - also known as Meow Meow - as well as benzocaine, which is often used to dilute recreational drugs.

Mephedrone was legal at the time it was taken by the two men, but has been outlawed since.

The coroner said it was impossible to say how much of the substance was taken by Christopher, of Delamere Crescent, and Kieran, who had changed his surname from McConaghy, of Wedder Law. He added there was no evidence to suggest the use of the drug had influenced their decisions to take their own lives, saying it was clear from notes left by both men that they had been contemplating suicide "for some little while".

But Mr Dunn said coroners and pathologists were told last June by a private forensic company that, in the first half of 2010, 50% of suspected suicides by hanging or other "mechanical means" involved people who had taken mephedrone within several hours or days of their death.

With Kieran's father saying the family still do not know why he took his own life, Mr Dunn stressed it was important, from a public safety point of view, that young people "drawn to this kind of substance are aware that there appears to be some evidence to suggest that there is risk that it will cause a person to self harm or potential suicide".

Kieran and Christopher both studied at Cramlington Learning Village, before working in McDonald's on Westmorland Road together. Christopher later gained a promotion to shift manager at the Silverlink branch at North Tyneside. The inquest had earlier been read a written statement from John Holmes, who was walking his dog when he found the bodies near Brockwell Centre in Cramlington on the morning of July 27. …

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