Dad of teen killed by ecstasy warns of ‘dangers of drugs’

The father of a girl who died from a drug overdose is warning young people about the dangers of substance abuse so that others may learn from his daughter’s story.

Stewart Handling’s 13-year-old daughter Grace was given ecstasy in 2018 and was found dead the next morning.

He said he was “haunted” by not being able to protect his daughter and wanted to educate others.

‘Russian roulette’

Speaking to BBC Scotland, the bereaved father explained how it is impossible to know exactly how potent a particular drug may be before it is taken.

He said: “If you get a pill from somebody in the street, or off Snapchat or whatever it is, it’s an illegal street drug, Class A. You have no idea what’s inside that drug. No idea.”

He rubbished the idea that Grace knew the risks of taking ecstasy, saying: “Nobody knows. Even an adult doesn’t know the risks.”

“As soon as that goes into your bloodstream it’s Russian roulette time. There is no fixed dosage in these pills – they are made by criminals who want to make money.”


Two years on from Grace’s death, Mr Handling says he has found a new “calling in life” to warn other teens of the “dangers of drugs”.

He said: “My mission is to ensure young people know the dangers of taking ecstasy and the fact that dealers are grooming young kids online and on Snapchat in Scotland.”

He also expressed his desire for there to be stronger legislation to prosecute those who supply drugs to children.

Positive effect

Mr Handling has already begun to visit schools to warn them of the dangers of substance abuse, hoping that he can educate other young people to protect them.

He said: “I believe some good can come from this situation if one young life can turn down a drug because of what happened to Grace and say, ‘That wee lassie died, I’m not wanting that’.

“If it can have an effect on one soul, then that’s amazing.”

Also see:

Police: ‘Kids can easily buy drugs disguised as sweets’

1 in 4 young people see drugs advertised on social media

Heroin and cocaine use up among teens and young adults

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