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Cannabis drove my son to take his own life
7:30pm Monday 21st October 2013 in Echo News
A MUM who claims cannabis drove her son to suicide is hoping to highlight its dangers.
Growing up, Matthew Leahy, who attended Westcliff High School for Boys, was bright, happy and full of ambition.
Mum Melanie, a property manager, said: “Even as a boy he spoke about his future, of having a large family and how he wanted to start up his own business.”
But tragically it is a future she and Matthew’s dad, Michael, will never see for their only child.
The former Maldon Court Preparatory School pupil, 20, hanged himself at the NHS-run Linden Centre mental health unit, in Chelmsford, last November.
“When I got the phone call to tell me about Matthew’s death, it ripped my heart out,” recalled Melanie.
It is cannabis, a drug many class as harmless, the 48-year-old blames for his spiral into self destruction.
When Matthew was 14 and a pupil at Westcliff High School, teachers reported he wasn’t paying as much attention at school.
Because of the smell of cannabis on his clothes, and his erratic behaviour, his parents suspected he was smoking the drug.
“I confronted him about it, but he would deny it,” said Melanie, from Heybridge.
“We had lots of arguments about him smoking cannabis.
“Both Michael and I did everything we could to try to stop him, from arguing to reasoning with him, but nothing worked.”
By the age of 15, Matthewwas having problems sleeping.
Despite warnings, he continued to use the drug.
By the time he was 17 and had moved into a shared house, his symptoms worsened significantly.
“Terrifyingly, he began saying he felt as if something was crawling over his body,” recalled Melanie.
Melanie and Michael became even more concerned when, in January 2011, he became convinced he had threadworm in his stomach, coming out of his nostrils and mouth and living in his ears – a sign of the paranoia caused by the cannabis.
That June, having experienced a terrifying psychotic episode where he believed worms were destroying him, Matthew was admitted to the psychiatric ward at Clacton Hospital and then the Linden Centre, where he remained until November 2011.
In May 2012, with Melanie again at her wit’s end, Matthew went to live with his father.
But in November 2012, during a terrifying psychotic episode at his father’s home in Bradwell, he smashed up his room with a baseball bat.
It was at that point he was admitted to the Linden Centre under section 3 of the Mental Health Act.
Later the same month he took his own life.
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