On November 29 I joined in a walk through Manchester with members of Anyone’s Child. The date and the place are important because one of the people walking was Ray Lakeman whose sons Jacque and Torin were last seen alive on November 29 2014 after going to Manchester United’s football ground. Their bodies were both found two days later in their hotel room, they’d died of overdoses.
This is just one of the many stories told by members of Anyone’s Child. Each member has lost someone to overdose, in most cases it’s their children. Members are now campaigning for the legalisation of drugs to take distribution out of the hands of criminals and put it into a legal framework where dose and quality control are regulated.
I was there to photograph the walk. Anyone’s Child members met in Piccadilly Gardens, handed out leaflets in the Christmas market (before being moved on by security), then visited the Peoples Museum where they made flowers – each one with the name of someone who had died due to drug overdose. The walk then stopped at Manchester United’s football ground where Ray spoke before finishing at the BBC gardens where the flowers were planted and members spoke again.
Harm reduction advocates are often accused of wanting legalisation because they just want to get high and as such we are easy for people to dismiss. However parents like those in Anyone’s Child cannot be dismissed so easily – their stories are tragic, emotional and simple to understand… lets reduce the risk of another person having to grieve for their child. Anyone’s Child have my total respect.
Anyone’s Child: Families for Safer Drug Control is an international network of families whose lives have been wrecked by current drug laws and are now campaigning to change them.
No one doubts that drugs can be dangerous – that’s why we should do all we can to prevent children and young people from taking them. But banning drugs and criminalising those who get involved with them causes even more harm.