William Ritchie death: Legal high 'needs controls

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A verdict of "misadventure" has been recorded at the inquest of a man who died after taking a 'legal high' drug.

William James Ritchie from Ballsalla, Isle of Man, died last February after taking alpha-methyltryptamine or AMT.

Isle of Man Coroner John Needham said the drug was "either the cause of death" or "a significant contributing factor to Mr Ritchie's death".

Mr Needham added: "I find the evidence sufficiently strong to recommend such a substance be made a controlled drug."

Mr Ritchie, 45, died at his flat in Ballasalla on 2 February.

'Casual possession'

At Douglas court house, an inquest heard he died either directly because of the toxic effects of AMT, or in combination with an underlying liver condition.

Mr Needham said: "I will refer my findings in this case to the Isle of Man Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs Act to consider whether AMT should be included on the list of controlled drugs in the island.

"For my part I find that the evidence is sufficiently strong to recommend under rule 34 that such substance is made a controlled drug so as to perhaps deter its casual possession and consumption in the Isle of Man and thus helping to prevent others from taking it and potentially suffering similar fatal consequences as suffered by Mr Ritchie."

New rules to tackle the rise in the use of the drugs were announced by the European Commission earlier this year.

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