Daniel Parks’ wife had fallen asleep, shattered after a long day at the UK-based music festival Bestival. Daniel locked himself in the bathroom—his mind frazzled by his use of drugs over the weekend—and took a kitchen knife with him. He mutilated his lower arms, sending blood cascading down onto the floor of the small cubicle and waking his wife in the process. She found him in a distressed state, and called help for him immediately. Unfortunately, it was too late. Daniel was taken straight to the hospital, but he died from loss of blood. He thought he’d been taking a legal high, but the inquest into his death has revealed that to be wrong. It may appear that the mistake he made was in being unaware of what he took. But when you look at the facts more closely, it becomes obvious that this was actually his second—and least important—mistake.
Daniel Parks was 35 and had purchased the drugs—known as “Magic Crystals”—on the Internet in preparation for the annual festival. He actually took the drugs (along with his wife) a few days before he died, and was a little subdued for a couple of days following the incident. His mood appeared to improve, and that night he and his wife returned to their camp fairly early in the evening. She went to sleep, and then the remainder of the story unfolded.
Daniel was no stranger to legal highs, according to the BBC article, having consumed legal highs several times before his death and with a hospital admission in April of last year to his name. Undoubtedly, this wasn’t the first time he’d experimented, but it was unfortunately the last.
What Did He Take?
According to the report, the Magic Crystals were described as “bath salts” and very little else. This is obviously a problem, and could have been related to his death in some way, since he didn’t know what he was actually taking. Further examination found that he was actually taking 4-Methylethcathinone, a drug otherwise known as “mephedrone” or “meow meow,” which is illegal in both the U.S. and the U.K.
In essence, there are many similarities between this drug and the infamous bath salts, which caused the zombie-like attack last year. This event was assumed to be directly tied to the updated legislation covering legal high drugs, and the U.K. has been taking similar action in its own fight against legalized drug abuse. Business is becoming more difficult for manufacturers of law-evading chemicals, but they are well equipped to continually produce new substances that skirt the existing legislation.
Designer Drugs – Avoiding Laws and Endangering Users
Designer drugs get their name because they are designed to resemble existing illicit drugs aren’t technically covered by the laws governing them. This is obviously a huge problem, and one that legislation is always struggling to keep up with. Additional problems come from the fact that peddlers of these substances generally label them “not for human consumption” and can update the formula to suit any new legislation. Those who manufacture the drugs avoid the law by attaching labels that tell users not to consume the contents. The problem is that—although illicit drugs are dangerous—designer drugs have different chemical structures by definition and therefore have different and potentially more harmful effects. Designer drugs are almost always extremely poorly tested and their risks are ordinarily only revealed through news stories and anecdotal evidence.
His Second Mistake
Many people may argue that this death isn’t an argument against designer drugs, since the substance he actually took was legal, but this viewpoint willfully ignores the facts. Not knowing which substance he was taking is obviously dangerous—since it could have been a substance he knew he’d have a bad reaction to. However, the bigger mistake is deciding to take the designer drugs in the first place.
Think about it like a new medication. People who enroll in clinical trials ordinarily do so because they’re desperately in need of money and are willing to put themselves at risk. Taking designer drugs is exactly the same, except you don’t get paid for it. In fact, you pay for the privilege of exposing yourself to potentially dangerous and untested chemicals.
That’s why taking the wrong substance was his second mistake—the first one was deciding to take designer drugs in the first place. The bath salts story is a perfect illustration of the issue, since the substance was taken on purpose in that case. And guess what? It still went hugely, drastically wrong. That’s because these substances aren’t “safe” because they’re legal; they just exploit a loophole in the law. In fact, the notion that “legality” equals “safety” could make designer drugs even more dangerous from a practical standpoint. People like Daniel Parks take these drugs without knowing their risks, and that is the biggest problem of all.