Drugs killed my son - mother

A HEARTBROKEN mother whose family has been devastated by the death of her "full of life" teenage son from a drug overdose has issued an emotional warning to other parents.

A HEARTBROKEN mother whose family has been devastated by the death of her "full of life" teenage son from a drug overdose has issued an emotional warning to other parents.

Speaking following an inquest into the death of 19-year-old Matthew Chudleigh yesterday , distraught Karen Le-Port painted a bleak picture of life in a Suffolk town where she claims heroin abuse is rife.

She also said her son's tragic death on December 2 last year had shattered her family life, forcing them into counselling and even prompting her 17-year-old daughter Roxanne, who discovered her half-brother's body, to attempt suicide.

"My son was still a baby. He was only 19 years old, and I have lost him forever," said 42-year-old Mrs Le-Port. "I feel so empty and guilty at the same time, and am always wondering if I could have done more.

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"I now want people to be aware of exactly what drugs can do, and open their eyes to their effects. After all, their child could be the next to die.

"And something must be done about drugs in Sudbury. There is a real problem in the town, and the police aren't doing enough to stop people dealing. I'm convinced it was the influence of those people which got my son addicted to heroin in the first place."

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Mr Chudleigh, who was better known as Chud, started abusing solvents aged just 13, and took cannabis, amphetamines and ecstasy before moving to Sudbury from Ipswich four years ago.

It was only after setting up home in the town did he begin abusing heroin, said Mrs Le-Port, who struggled to gain her son a place on a treatment course – at which he failed to attend.

"We tried to get him some help when he was injecting heroin, but he didn't turn up to the sessions," she added. "He just couldn't help himself, as pushers were around him all the time.

"Chud's death has affected my whole family – we are having counselling because of what has happened. Roxanne took a very serious overdose of temazepam last month, as she couldn't cope with the pictures in her head of the time she found her brother.

"And Clarice, who is eight, has been absolutely destroyed by this. Her brother doted on her."

And describing the stark difference in her son when he was free from drugs, a tearful Mrs Le-Port added: "He was a totally different child. Matthew always had a smile on his face and was very loving.

"But when he was using, he was very withdrawn, his face would sink and he would be nothing more than skin and bone.

"He promised me he was going to reform himself. He wanted to start a new life and move away with his girlfriend, but now it seems the only good thing to come out of this is that at least my son is at peace."

During the inquest in Bury St Edmunds, coroner for Greater Suffolk Dr Peter Dean was told Mr Chudleigh was free from drugs during the months prior to his death while serving a prison sentence.

But less than two weeks after his release, Mr Chudleigh's body was discovered in his Cornard Road bedsit.

A post mortem examination carried out at the West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury, showed the 19-year-old died as a result of pulmonary oedema – fluid gathering on the lungs.

Samples of Mr Chudleigh's blood were also sent for analysis, with toxicology reports showing methadone, temazepam and diazepam were present at the time of death.

"Even small amounts of methadone have a very high risk of death when taken with temazepam," said pathologist Dr Lamois Munthali. "These substances are very poisonous indeed.

"The drugs worked together to suppress the central nervous system and the body's controls for respiration and the heart."

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Dr Dean said: "This really emphasises the hazards of drug abuse, particularly a mixture of different sorts of drugs.

"If any message comes out of this tragic death, it is to those who may be tempted to become involved with drugs. These substances are very dangerous and very poisonous, and the risk is always there if they are abused."

Speaking after the hearing, Chip Somers, of Bury-based drug counselling service Focus, said a planned narcotics anonymous group, based in Sudbury, would be available for users in the near future.

"One of the problems with methadone which is prescribed is that it is often used in conjunction with other drugs.

"The purpose of methadone is to try and stabilise people so they don't want to take anything else.

"But in reality, many people will still use other drugs on top of that, and addicts are notoriously bad at thinking through the consequences of that extra drug use before they take something."

A spokesman for Suffolk police said a specialist helpline, on 0800 253253 has now been set up to encourage the public to volunteer information on drug dealers.

"The public can play their part and help us crack down on dealers in their local communities," he said. "We do take the issue of drugs and drug abuse extremely seriously, and work in partnership with others through our drug action team forums, to examine ways of treatment and prevention."

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