Heartbroken mum's alert over drugs

A mother has warned of the perils of cannabis after her son took the drug to ease his depression.

Carol Taylor said it caused lasting damage to 20-year-old Joe Heathcote, who was found dead in a derelict out-building in Brassington on April 17.

She said: "It can be very harmful to young brains and we need to educate parents in that as well. We don't tell our young people how harmful it can be.

"When the government declassified it, they gave the green light that it was all right, a recreational drug.

"We have lost a much-loved son, brother and grandson who was damaged by cannabis although he was not addicted to it."

Suicide verdict

Mrs Taylor of Derby Road, Wirksworth, who spoke after South Derbyshire deputy coroner Dr Turlough Farnan recorded a verdict of suicide while severely depressed, believed he started taking the drug at the age of 17.

Mrs Taylor (44) has now been invited to join a national lobby of the House of Commons, where MPs will be asked to step-up the penalty for having cannabis.

Friday's inquest heard that Mr Heathcote was receiving tablets from the community mental health team but Mrs Taylor said: "He started to self-medicate with cannabis.

"I don't know how much you can attribute to cannabis.

" I personally think it had a lot to do with it."

But she added her son had stopped taking it when he died and the hearing was told that hospital tests showed his body was clear of drugs or alcohol.