Mum's internet drugs warning after death of son Richard Oates
THE mother of a recreational drug user has warned of the dangers of taking drugs bought on the internet.
Richard Oates took drugs he ordered online and died aged 28 from drug misuse.
His mother, Julie Wood, 55, says she cannot understand how the drugs packages were not intercepted by the authorities before being delivered to Richard's home.
She has also warned other parents to look for signs of drug use.
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"Something needs to be done, Richard isn't a one-off case," she said.
"It was a stupid waste of a life, but it has to be a lesson learned.
"I can't understand how he was able to use internet forums and order drugs from all over the world without someone stopping them.
"I don't know how this was allowed."
Mr Oates was discovered dead in his bed by his flatmate Andrew Hardwick.
Packages from all over the world, including the Netherlands and Poland, were found in his room.
An inquest into his death, held at Hull Coroner's Court, ruled it was an accidental death contributed to by the misuse of drugs.
Ms Wood said: "Monday to Friday, he was a normal lad who worked.
"But at the weekend, it was party time. So he thought 'Let's have something to give us a buzz'. I knew he probably dabbled in something but I didn't know to what extent – if I ever asked him, he would laugh it off.
"I didn't think for a minute he was into anything that strong. But I don't think me knowing would have made a difference – he was 28 and a man, so he wouldn't have listened."
Ms Wood, of South Cave, says some parents may mistake signs of drug taking for a hangover from alcohol.
She said: "When they come home drunk, is it that they are drunk or have they taken something?
"It all fits into place when you know the facts.
"After the funeral, someone said to me they didn't realise Richard was a drug addict, but he wasn't.
"You wouldn't call someone who gets drunk on a Saturday night an alcoholic.
"He just used drugs as a way to relax at the end of the week."
Mr Oates, who worked as a landscape gardener, was found at his home in Market Weighton in July.
A post mortem revealed he had morphine in his blood, possibly from elicit opium use.
The morphine caused him to have a depressed respiratory system, which made his breathing more shallow, causing pneumonia.
The medical cause of death was found to be bilateral pneumonia due to the effects of morphine.
Giving evidence at court, Richard's father Keith said: "He was a party animal, who lived for the weekends.
"He was laidback and never got stressed.
"He was a quiet person at first but the life and soul of the party when you got to know him."
Mr Oates had been living in Market Weighton since December.
He last spoke to his father on the phone on July 17.
On July 19, Mr Hardwick returned home to find Richard dead.
Mr Hardwick said: "He was naked and his lower half was partially covered by the duvet.
"I grabbed one of his legs and shook it but he wasn't moving.
"I could see his stomach wasn't moving so I called 999.
"It was quite a shock to see him like that."
Assistant deputy coroner Rosemary Baxter recorded a verdict of accidental death contributed to by the misuse of drugs.
Speaking after the inquest, Ms Wood said: "Richard was using internet forums to get the drugs.
"He was only spending about £3 or £4 at a time, so they are very cheap to buy.
"The police seized his laptop and phone but they said they didn't have the resources to look into how he ordered them – how you can order them and they just arrive at the door beggars belief.
"I don't want Richard to be just another statistic – people need to know."