A senior law enforcement officer in West Devon, England recently revealed that local teenagers are purchasing drugs from the dark web—a statement that follows the deaths of three Tavistock, West Devon teenagers in a period of nine months.
To manage this issue, police are urging parents to work hand-in-hand with them and their children to prevent future deaths as well as curbing other issues such as sexual harassment and cyberbullying.
They want the parents to attend drop-in sessions at a local pub.
Concerning this issue, Inspector Mark Sloman acknowledged that over the summer many parents had approached officers to inquire if the quiet market town of Tavistock had a drug problem.
He further said it was clear that many teenagers were experimenting on various recreational drugs that they mainly purchased from the dark web and paid for using cryptocurrencies.
The drugs were then being delivered to their homes.
He concluded that these activities were indeed happening, and that the aim of the police was to educate the parents so they would have serious conversations with their children.
The new initiative in Tavistock would take place at the Queen’s Head Pub every fortnight commencing on between 9:30 and 11 a.m.
This would see police officers offer information, advice and guidance to parents who might be affected by the drug problem.
All this was arranged following the deaths of several teenagers in the region:
Aaron Reilly and Joshua Brock
Aaron Reilly of Newton Abbot and Joshua Brock of Okehampton died at the Pryzm nightclub in Plymouth in December 2017.
Reports show that they had both taken cocktails of MDMA and amphetamine tablets before collapsing and later dying at Derriford Hospital.
Reilly was well respected among his friends as a non-drug user while Brock was a third-year student studying aircraft engineering.
Senior Coroner Ian Arrow said that he hoped that the incident would serve as a warning and lesson to fellow teenagers on the effects of such hard drugs.
Leah Kerry was a 15-year old girl from Torquay who died in the summer of 2017 after taking MDMA.
She died in Bakers Park, Newton Abbot after consuming three tablets of ecstasy under the label “Netflix and Chill” at an end-of-term party.
Later reports revealed that Jacob Khanlarian, a refuse collector, admitted supplying drugs to Kerry.
He pleaded guilty to four counts of supplying MDMA and one count of supplying cannabis.
Of the four ecstasy supply counts, three were related to the Bakers Park group the night Kerry died.
Khanlarian was sentenced to three years in prison after his admission of the crime.
Luke Campbell-Tapson, a 16-year-old from South Molton Community College is yet another local individual who died after consuming MDMA.
On May 26 of 2017, he was admitted to North Devon District Hospital after an incident at a youth disco where it is believed he had taken MDMA.
He died in the early hours of the following day.
Daniel Kennett, an 18-year-old from of Powlers Piece, Putford, confessed to selling the drug to Campbell-Tapson.
After pleading guilty, Kennett was spared jail time after Campbell-Tapson’s family announced they had forgiven him and his accomplice.
He was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid community service, plus 30 days of rehabilitation activities.
The other case is the death of 15-year-old Hannah Bragg, a showjumping champion and student at Tavistock College who died in June after taking MDMA.
She took the drug while celebrating finishing her GCSEs with her friends.
Following Bragg’s death, the community led by parent Victoria Piper organized a parents’ meeting at Tavistock College to tackle the growing drug problem in the community.
Piper worked closely with the local police and relevant authorities to educate the parents on how easy it is to access the dark web.
Nearly 100 parents showed up for the meeting—a higher turnout than that of other meetings held at Tavistock College, according to the school’s principal, Sarah Jones.
Speaking about the meeting at Tavistock College, West Devon Inspector Mark Sloman said that it is apparent that young people take risks and experiment with new things, but they are also aware that parents want informed advice on how they can effectively teach their children the dangers of dark web and drug abuse.
Jones encouraged parents to look out for their children by keeping tabs on their spending and checking if they have apps on their phones which allow them to access the dark web.
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