A MOTHER who has tragic first-hand experience of the devastating impact drugs can have says she is 'sadly not surprised' at how easily they can be bought online by youngsters.

It comes after an Echo investigation revealed multiple dealers who were willing to sell large quantities of drugs over social media sites.

One dealer said a drugs drop off in Darlington town centre would take just 14 minutes, while another shockingly agreed to drop off outside a school's gates in broad daylight

Kerry Roberts's daughter Leah Heyes was just 15-years-old when she collapsed in a Northallerton car park and died in hospital after taking MDMA on the night of May 11, 2019.

Read more: Echo sting reveals dealers are using Instagram to sell drugs in Darlington

Leah, a keen user of the social media platform Snapchat, had been in touch with the dealer of the fatal pills via her mobile phone and Kerry says more needs to be done to crack down on dealers using social media sites to peddle drugs to youngsters.

She said: "It is scary that when you think that your child is just doing their thing on social media, they could actually be buying or selling drugs - it's that easy.

"I don't understand that they (social media firms) can obviously see what is going on because they can block people and kick people off sites for saying certain things.

"So I can't understand that if this (dealing) is being seen, why is it allowed?

"I get that inappropriate things people say on the sites are picked up by coding, but it should be someone's responsibility to find these dealers using their sites and do something about them."

The Northern Echo:

Leah Heyes with her mother Kerry Roberts

Kerry also believes that parents need to be better educated on the variety of drugs that can be easily bought by youngsters and the potentially fatal risks they pose.

She said: "I think as adults we need to protect our kids.

"I know people will say 'you didn't protect yours' and maybe we didn't talk enough about certain things and I wasn't educated enough on how things are now.

"We spoke about Class A drugs like heroin and cocaine but I think we need to learn more about the different types out there.

"I didn't know about MDMA, I knew about ecstasy but I didn't know all the names for it and we need to educate ourselves because you can read these messages about drugs and still not even know what they are talking about because they call them all sorts of things."

Following her daughter's death, Kerry has campaigned for 'Leah's Law' calling for tougher sentences for those who supply drugs to children and teenagers.

Read more: Drugs problem in the North East now 'worse than ever' as Instagram slammed

And she wants youngsters to think of Leah before they take any risks with drugs because she 'can't bear another parent going through what I go through every day'.

She said: "When people see Leah's face it makes it real; she was a normal 15-year-old girl from a normal, loving family, who had her whole life ahead of her.

"We had a good relationship, I thought we could pretty much talk about anything, but she made a mistake and we have all made mistakes when we were young and thought we were invincible.

"Leah went out on a Saturday night with her friends and made the biggest mistake."

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