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‘I’m sure as hell going to protect other children’: Mother of dead teen wants to save festival goers

The mother of a woman who died at a music festival wants to learn how best to protect young people by watching their drug-taking habits at dance parties.

Jennie Ross-King’s 19-year-old daughter Alex was rushed to Westmead Hospital after taking almost three doses of the party drug MDMA before attending the FOMO music festival in Parramatta in January.

She died later that evening with her family by her side.

Alex Ross-King, 19, died in Westmead hospital after taking MDMA to go to a music festival

Jennie Ross-King’s (left with partner Andrew Murphy) 19-year-old daughter Alex (right) was rushed to Westmead Hospital after taking almost three doses of the party drug MDMA

Ms Ross-King has said she plans to go to next weekend’s Splendour in the Grass festival at Byron Bay in northern NSW to observe the way young people take drugs at music festivals and to learn about the festival scene. 

She also wants to see what medical care is available and what actions are being taken to minimise harm from illegal drugs. She also wants to witness the police presence. 

‘I can’t protect my girl any more but I’m sure as hell going to try and protect everybody else’s,’ she told The Sun-Herald.

‘I want to get into their world. Anybody who has a teenager or a child, there’s a certain aspect of their lives that you don’t know about.’   

The grieving mother said she wants an informed debate to be had about pill testing saying she felt if it had been available, her daughter would have used it. 

Ms Ross-King’s comments come after the first week of a NSW coronial inquest into six MDMA-related deaths at music festivals between December 2017 and January 2019.

The NSW Coroners Court at Lidcombe heard Alex had consumed the illegal drugs before entering FOMO because she was frightened of being caught by police.

Alex (right) with her beloved father, Matt King (left)

Alex (right) with her beloved father, Matt King (left)

Ms Ross-King said she wants a National Drugs Summit to take place, as the last one was held in 1999. 

 ‘I don’t want to pre-empt any findings or recommendations but I would however like to see a National Drug Summit involving all stakeholder groups and government agencies,’ she told the Daily Telegraph.

‘I am not an expert but in my limited research I can confidently say there has been significant change in drug consumption, drug manufacturing and drug distribution.

‘NSW just on 20 years seems an awful long time to not review something that has always been a public health issue.’

 Ms Ross-King has also said she wants an informed conversation to be had about pill testing. 

In April, she visited Groovin’ the Moo, a music festival in Canberra, where pill-testing was being trialled.

She stood outside the gates and watched the young people enter the festival, just as her daughter had. 

‘I just wanted to feel the vibe, see the kids, even understand the set-up,’ Ms Ross-King told the Sun-Herald.  

 Ms Ross-King expressed a desire to be present at a pill-testing trial, to sit in the corner of the tent and just watch. 

Jennie Ross-King (left) with her partner Andrew Murphy and her daughter Alex (right) in 2015. Ms Ross-King has said she'd like an informed conversation to be had about pill testing after the first week of an inquest into the deaths of six music festival goers from MDMA, including her daughter Alex. Ms Ross-King feels her daughter would have used it if it had been available

Jennie Ross-King (left) with her partner Andrew Murphy and her daughter Alex (right) in 2015. Ms Ross-King has said she’d like an informed conversation to be had about pill testing after the first week of an inquest into the deaths of six music festival goers from MDMA, including her daughter Alex. Ms Ross-King feels her daughter would have used it if it had been available

The vexed issue of pill testing has become a repeated theme at the inquest, led by Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame, as the court considers the circumstances of the MDMA-related deaths of Alex Ross-King, Joshua Tam, 22, Callum Brosnan, 19, Joseph Pham, 23, Diana Nguyen, 21, and Nathan Tran, 18.

Pill Testing Australia’s emergency physician David Caldicott told the Coroner’s Court on Friday he would try to arrange a demonstration of how the pill-testing procedure works, after Ms Grahame indicated she would like to view one at the festival. 

Authorities in both NSW and Victoria have firmly rejected the idea of pill testing, fearing it will encourage young people to take illegal substances.

Police Association Victoria secretary Wayne Gatt said in January that field testing of drugs was limited in the harmful substances it could test for and would provide a false sense of security for young people.

 ‘Pill testing is not the panacea to stop the use of dangerous recreational drugs,’ he said.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian also refused to consider pill testing as it cannot guarantee the safety of a drug.

‘Pill testing doesn’t guarantee the safety of a drug and what might be safe for one person may not be safe for another person,’ she said last year.

‘We do not support a culture that says it is OK to take illegal drugs, and I am worried about the number of people who attend these events who think it is OK to take illegal drugs.’

 Following the conclusion of the inquest Ms Grahame will deliver her recommendations. 

THE SIX PEOPLE WHO DIED TAKING MDMA AT MUSIC FESTIVALS

 Joshua Tam, 22

  • Lost Paradise, December 2018
  • Died from complications after taking MDMA
  • Believed to have taken five to six capsules and drank a litre of vodka
  • Temperature reached 39.5C   

Alexandra Ross-King, 19

  •  FOMO, January 2019
  • Died after taking MDMA
  • Believed to have taken two and three quarters of MDMA capsules
  • Temperature reached 42C

Diana Nguyen, 21

  • Defqon.1, September 2018
  • Died after taking MDMA
  • Believed to have taken two capsules
  • Temperature reached 39.5C 

 

 Joseph Pham, 23 

  • Defqon.1, September 2018
  • Died after taking MDMA
  • Believed to have taken three to four pills
  • Temperature reached 39.5C 

 Callum Brosnan, 19

  •  Knockout Games of Destiny, Decmber 2018
  • Died after taking MDMA and cocaine
  • Believed to have taken six to nine MDMA capsules
  • Temperature reached 41.9C

Hoang Nathan Tran, 18

  • Knockout Circuz, December 2017
  • Died after taking MDMA
  • Believed to have taken four MDMA capsules
  • Temperature reached 41C 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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