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I lived for 5,742 days, 7 hours and 36 minutes


I died on 20th July 2013 at 2.17pm after
swallowing half a gram of MDMA powder
(more widely known as ecstasy). Making it
illegal didn't protect me. I wanted to get high
– I didn't want to die

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I lived for 5,742 days, 7 hours and 36 minutes


I died on 20th July 2013 at 2.17pm after
swallowing half a gram of MDMA powder
(more widely known as ecstasy). Making it
illegal didn't protect me. I wanted to get high
– I didn't want to die

↓ Scroll down to find out more 

Martha Fernback’s mum speaks out… 

Martha Fernback and her mum, Anne-Marie Cockburn

I have spent many hours painstakingly deliberating about drug policy since my precious girl died. It was important to me that when I felt ready to disclose my views, they were well constructed and more informed, rather than knee-jerk and too immersed within the wrath of the initial raw emotion I felt in the early days.

As I write this, I have been without Martha for 284 days and can’t believe that I'm slowly managing to carve out a new life for myself. Many doors have been opened for me that would previously have been firmly closed, but I've paid the highest price imaginable and feel strongly that I must do what I can to avoid any other parent ever knowing how it feels to be me.

Being a bereaved single parent is the worst job in the world, but the skills I obtained as a single parent ironically also gave me the immense strength I now need in order to be part of the sensible dialogue for change.

What is crystal clear to me now is that strict and responsible regulation of drugs is vital. So what does this actually mean?

It means taking drugs out of the hands of dealers and treating them in the same way as pharmaceuticals. Licensed drugs are labelled, ingredients are listed and necessary dosage information is provided. Free drug testing facilities should also be widely available so that if people are going to take drugs, they can know what they are taking.

Under prohibition, it is impossible to fully educate people as there is no way to tell what drugs contain, but despite this, many people are still willing to take risks. Had Martha known that what she was about to take was 91% pure, she would probably have taken a lot less, in fact I’d go as far as to say that she might still be alive. 

It is important to stress that we need to do what we can in order to deter young people from taking drugs. However, under a regulatory model, even if drugs got into the hands of younger people, the dangers would be significantly less than they currently are under prohibition.

We must take control of drugs in order to establish a healthier and safer society, and that means responsible regulation.

– Anne-Marie Cockburn (Martha’s mum)