A grieving mother awaits government response to campaign for drug law change after gaining wide support Yorkshire News

Kerry Roberts has been urging the government to introduce a new law, which makes the sale of drugs to children under the age of 16 a specific criminal offense carrying longer prison sentences.

It comes after her daughter Leah Hayes went into cardiac arrest when she took MDMA with a group of friends in a Northallerton car park in 2019 and the teenagers who supplied the Class A drug, Connor Kirkwood and Mitchell Southern, have been ordered to comply. 21 months and 12 months respectively in institutions for young offenders.

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She said children cannot consent to taking drugs and dealers who target them should face harsher punishments.

Kerry Roberts has been urging the government to introduce a new law, which makes selling drugs to children under the age of 16 a specific criminal offence, following the death of her 15-year-old daughter in 2019.

The government must now respond to his campaign as he has created a petition on his official website that has garnered over 10,000 signatures.

Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton, has also promised to champion the introduction of the bill in the House of Commons, under the ten-minute rule.

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Ms Roberts said she was “overwhelmed” when patrons of the pub where she works told her the petition had garnered 10,000 signatures.

“My main goal is to protect children,” he said.

“When I was in court and during the police investigation into Leah’s death, I kept hearing the word consent.

“But how could Lea consent? She was 15 years old.

“She couldn’t consent to buying alcohol or cigarettes or playing the lottery or having sex, but she could consent to taking Class A drugs. It doesn’t sit well with me.

He added: “It is very important to change it (the law) for the future. I have a two-year-old daughter and I hope that when she is a teenager things will change.”

In December, the government announced its ambitious 10-year drug strategy, which sets out to provide £900m to help police forces tackle drug gangs on county lines and provide 54,500 treatment places for people struggling with addiction.

North Yorkshire Police said they are focused on tackling supply and demand in the region, after the number of drug-related deaths rose from 73 in 2020 to 90 the following year.

The force runs a variety of operations to crack down on dealers, but also refers users who have been arrested to treatment services and offers specialized support to teenagers caught with drugs.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-04 08:17:31

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