Mum whose son died taking MDMA urges young people to make safe decisions around drugs

Fiona Spargo-Mabbs' warning comes amid a record year of drug seizures, ITV News' Martha Fairlie reports

A woman whose son died of an overdose has urged young people to "safely" manage decisions around illegal substances, after the government announced record drugs seizures.

Fiona Spargo-Mabbs' son Daniel lost his life nine years ago aged just 16, after taking a lethal amount of the class A drug MDMA at a rave in London.

She now runs the Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation, which offers workshops to schoolchildren to help educate them on the dangers of taking drugs.

She told ITV News young people "will always be finding themselves" with decisions to make on drug use, but warned managing those choices safely is "just so important".

Her comments come after it was revealed that more than 18,000kg (nearly 40,000lb) of cocaine was seized by police and border officials in England and Wales in the year to March 2022 - the highest annual total on record.

Drug seizures as a whole fell by 14% compared with the previous 12-month period, signaling a return to levels recorded prior to the pandemic, following a spike during lockdowns.

Ms Spargo-Mabbs said: "Young people will always be finding themselves, maybe fewer decisions, maybe less frequently, but there will be decisions around for them and managing those decisions safely is just so important."

She described her son as "one of those people that everybody liked."

On Thursday, Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick visited Heathrow Airport, where he was given a demonstration of how search dogs are being used by Border Force staff to check for illegal drugs, money and tobacco being brought into the country.

He said staff "intelligence" is "reaping rewards and depriving the criminals, the smugglers of the drugs that they want to flood into the UK market".

Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick praised Border Force staff for their work. Credit: ITV News

"The force are investing resources and taking this intelligence led approach, which is seeing very large quantities being seized," he added.

"Also, we are seizing big quantities each time we do that and I think that's a success for Border Force."

Home Office figures released on Thursday showed the amount of herbal cannabis seized in England and Wales hit a near 30-year high, while the quantity of ketamine confiscated also rose substantially.

The quantity of class A drug cocaine seized by police forces and Border Force rose by 68% - highest quantity since current records began in 2006/07 - from 11,141kg (24,562lb) in the 12 months to March 2021 to 18,767kg (41,374lb) in the latest period.

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Meanwhile, the amount of class B herbal cannabis seized in the year to March 2022 more than doubled - highest recorded quantity since 1994 - with 35,436kg (78,123lb) confiscated compared with 17,155kg (37,820lb) in the previous period.

Overall, police and border officials made a total 188,929 drug seizures in the year to March 2022 - a 14% decrease compared with the previous year (219,578), but still the second highest figure since the 12 months to March 2014 (194,579).

Police forces accounted for the majority of the number of seizures (89% or 168,050), but Border Force officers were responsible for discovering much larger quantities of drugs, as a result of operations at places like airports and ferry ports.