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Grieving mum launches anti-drugs crusade

PUBLISHED: 17:51 03 June 2009 | UPDATED: 10:44 23 August 2010

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THE mother of a 20-year-old who overdosed on a cocktail of drugs hopes to educate children to prevent similar tragedies. Hairdresser Haniska Pett, of Valley Drive, Gravesend, died of a heart attack after taking a combination of drugs including MDMA and c

TRAGIC: Haniska Pett

THE mother of a 20-year-old who overdosed on a cocktail of drugs hopes to educate children to prevent similar tragedies.

Hairdresser Haniska Pett, of Valley Drive, Gravesend, died of a heart attack after taking a combination of drugs including MDMA and cocaine.

Speaking after the inquest at Dartford Coroners Court on Monday her distraught mother Angela Pett said schools should do more to educate children.

Vet practice worker Mrs Pett, also of Valley Drive, said: "There should be more drugs awareness taught in schools. Someone like me should be allowed to go into schools and explain to young people the dangers of drugs.

"Children need support but don't preach to them because they are going to do it anyway. Just help them and be there for them. I have lived through this. Haniska's death can make a difference and save others."

"This can happen to anyone. She is the last person you would expect it to happen to but I don't want her death to be in vain."

The court heard how Haniska had been at the house of her friend Jolene Keeler in Northfleet on October 19 last year after a night out at the Riverside Tavern, in Strood, the previous day. At lunchtime she left saying she was going to meet a friend at the Granby Hotel and returned after about 15 or 20 minutes.

Later in the day she started acting unusually and complaining that she was hot. Concerned by her friend's behaviour Miss Keeler called her 22-year-old brother Joseph Pett, also of Valley Drive.

Miss Keeler said: "I thought everything was normal at first and then she started throwing her arms around and said she was really hot.

"I got her a glass of water and a flannel and then I rang Joe. I didn't know what to do. I was frightened."

When Mr Pett arrived his sister was in a bad way and he discovered she had been taking cocaine.

He said: "She was in her underwear fitting quite a lot. She wasn't in this world, she wasn't really talking to me. It was more like she was asleep in a dream and talking to herself.

"I tried to get her talking to me but she sounded like she was talking about her past and the history of her life."

Mr Pett called the emergency services at about 5.20pm and an ambulance arrived within nine minutes. Haniska received treatment from the paramedics but suffered a heart attack on the way to Darent Valley Hospital and died in the back of the ambulance.

A post-mortem carried out by Dr Olaf Biedrzycki determined the cause of death to be mixed drug intoxication. Her toxicology report revealed traces of cocaine as well as high concentrations of MDMA, the drug used in ecstasy pills, and quantities of methamphetamine, and benzylpiperazine, or BZP, which may have been mixed in with the cocaine in her system.

Recording a verdict of death by misadventure coroner Christopher Sutton-Mattocks said: "Inquests involving the death of young people with the whole of their lives in front of them are always desperately sad occasions and this is no exception.

"It seems probable to me that Miss Pett either took drugs far more powerful than she understood them to be or maybe she took them in such a way that she didn't realise the effects of doing so.

"May I express my condolences and the condolences of the court to Mr and Mrs Pett and their family."

Remembering her daughter Mrs Pett added: "She was the most happy, pretty girl and a friend to everybody. She was never sad. I saw her upset and a bit tearful but never angry. She was a very nice girl.

"She was cheeky and could push her luck with her mother but she was a very good daughter.

"We miss her greatly. Her death has left the most enormous hole in the family.

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