15-year-old Martha should be sitting her school exams right now.
But the bright, effervescent teenager — who was already thinking about studying engineering at university — will never make it back to school.
Tragically, she’ll never grow into adulthood. Because last July, Martha took half a gram of ecstasy on a Saturday afternoon with some friends– and within two hours, she had suffered a fatal heart attack.
The teenager collapsed in a park in Oxford in the United Kingdom, the Daily Mail reports, and paramedics attempted CPR on her slight body as horrified sunbathers watched on.
Her mother, Anne-Marie Cockburn, later wrote of the tragic incident that she knew Martha “was already dead on arrival at the hospital.”
“They elevated her arms, but I don’t know why: her eyes were half-open and she was way beyond the clouds and stars already,” Ms Cockburn wrote.
Now, 11 months after the shocking death, Ms Cockburn wants to see some change to the UK’s drug policy — but not the changes you’d think. Rather than calling for tougher penalties for drug possession and distribution, as might be expected, the devastated single mother believes drugs need to be legalised so they can be responsibly regulated.
“I would like to… start a sensible dialogue for change, from prohibition to strict and responsible regulation of recreational drugs,” Ms Cockburn said at the inquest into her daughter’s death earlier this month.
“This will help to safeguard our children and lead to a safer society for us all by putting doctors and pharmacists, not dealers, in control of drugs,” she said.
Ms Cockburn’s beliefs challenge the hard-line prohibition on recreational drugs popularised by the “war on drugs,” a policy announced in 1971 by US president Richard Nixon. The prohibition approach, Ms Cockburn told The Guardian, “had its chance and failed.”
“Martha is a sacrificial lamb under prohibition,” she said .