Drugs are everywhere and far too easy for teenagers to get hold of, warn the grieving parents of a teenage girl who died after taking ecstasy.
They criticised websites for glorifying the effects of drug use and blamed peer pressure for the death of their daughter, 16-year-old Serena Harding.
The judge, sentencing three men for supplying the teenager with drugs, said the “misguided individuals” were part of a culture which believes that taking drugs such as ecstasy is harmless.
Miss Harding collapsed after taking ecstasy whilst on a night out with friends to celebrate her exam results.
Mr and Mrs Harding warned: “It’s too easy for teenagers to get hold of drugs. Drugs are everywhere and somebody will always know somebody who will sell you some.
“Unfortunately there are websites where people talk openly about their drug habits and which drugs they like and don’t like and glorify the effects.”
Explaining their daughter rarely drank or went to parties because of a medical condition, Mrs Harding, a drugs counsellor, said: “Serena just wanted to be like everybody else her age.
“We believe Serena got out of her depth and gave in to peer pressure.”
Three men were sentenced for supplying Miss Harding with the drugs, one of whom was said to be a close friend of Miss Harding.
Judge Maurice Green said: “All three of you must now understand that these drugs are not harmless – they are pernicious. As a result of your involvement with ecstasy a young girl died.
“If ever there was any case which brings home the dangers of taking illegal drugs, this is it. There was a misguided understanding that it was harmless and enjoyable.”
In recent months a number of celebrities including Dame Judi Dench and Sir Richard Branson have called on the Government to decriminalise drug use.
But a Home Office Spokesman maintained that “giving people the green light to possess drugs through decriminalisation is clearly not the answer”.