Cheryl Howe, 34, of Clarence Street, appeared on BBC’s Panorama programme to talk about legal highs with her 16-year-old daughter Sharon, who ended up on life support after taking three legal highs bought over the counter.
Sharon, 15 at the time, was given a 10 per cent chance of survival by doctors who didn’t know whether she was brain damaged, and Cheryl says she is in a minority of survivors and the youngest.
Cheryl said: “She didn’t have a problem with taking drugs, that is why it was a big shock. Through peer pressure at a party, she took three legal highs, Clockwork Orange, Spice and K2.
“She came home and she was delusional, her arms were flying everywhere, it’s hard to describe.She started deteriorating in the ambulance so they took her straight to resuscitation.
“Ten minutes later I heard the defibrillator going because her heart had stopped. Her heart stopped twice and she ended up in a coma for two days.
“It was a surreal feeling. She didn’t realise how serious it was. She was on full life support. “
Cheryl, who also has a small son Jack, lost all track of time and only went home to sleep after a nurse begged her to.
On the way home she planned Sharon’s funeral and how she was going to tell people that her daughter had died after taking legal highs.
Cheryl said: “You see it happening to other people but you don’t see it happening to you.
“I was told by the doctor’s to prepare for the worst because she was so small and the amount that was in her body was so large. They did a brain scan and it showed there was no swelling on the brain so that was a good sign, it was the first time I hoped. In the morning she came round and after another two days on the children’s ward, she came home.
“It didn’t really hit until a few months ago how it affected me and everyone else.I could have had a child less and she has wasted the medical professional’s time whilst the bed could have been used for someone who needed it more.
“This is what these legal highs are doing to people, destroying their lives.The people that make these drugs are murderers. The legal highs can’t even be classified as a drug, they are just a banned substance.
“If there are parents out there who suspect their children are taking legal highs, it’s not an easy road, but you can’t give up.”
Sharon has since recovered and is currently at college and wants to be an air hostess.
Cheryl said: “Just keep your kids away from the stuff, it’s killing kids.”
BBC One Panorama, The Battle against Legal Highs, is available on BBC iPlayer.