Glasgow & West Scotland

Overdose mother in parental consent plea

Britney Mazzoncini Image copyright Facebook/Britney's plea
Image caption Britney Mazzoncini died following an overdose in July last year

The mother of a 16-year-old who took her own life by overdosing on anti-anxiety pills has told MSPs there is a fault in Scotland's healthcare system.

Annette McKenzie wants the law changed to prevent under-18s being prescribed medication without parental consent.

She said the current system was "letting young people down".

She found out her daughter Britney Mazzoncini had been prescribed Propanol by her GP after she died of an overdose of the tablets in July last year.

Ms McKenzie has lodged a petition at the Scottish Parliament.

Speaking at the Public Petitions Committee, she said her campaign was not a "witch-hunt" against the doctor who treated her daughter.

'Severity and strength'

"When this happened with Britney, yes I was devastated, I was broken, but it also let me find a fault in the system where it is letting young people down," she said.

Britney, from Glasgow, suffered from depression and anxiety and was having suicidal impulses. She was prescribed a month's supply of the drug by her doctor last June.

Image copyright Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament
Image caption Annette McKenzie told the committee the system was "letting young people down"

Sixteen days later, she took an overdose.

Ms McKenzie said she had been unaware of the prescription and had mistaken side-effects, such as tiredness, as her daughter being lazy.

She explained to MSPs: "My daughter didn't understand at 16 years old the severity and strength of the medication she was given.

"She went to the doctor that day to ask for help. She didn't go expecting to be given pills."

She added: "I know a lot of people have concerns that my petition in particular will discourage young people from going to seek help from their doctor.

"To say that a child won't go to the doctor to ask for help, I don't believe that, because a child at that age isn't going to a doctor to ask for pills, they are going to speak out, to be asked to be helped."

'Wise enough'

GPs do not need to seek parental consent to prescribe medication if the young person is deemed to be able to understand the nature of the treatment and potential consequences of the treatment.

Ms McKenzie said the strength and effect of some mental health medications made it important that parents and guardians were "fully involved and aware of the circumstances, allowing them to support treatment" and safeguard their children by taking control of pills and dispensing them as required.

"We're not just talking about my daughter being 16 here, we are talking about there being no age of consent," she said.

"If they deem you to be wise enough, they will send you away with medication."

The committee agreed to contact the Scottish government, the Scottish Association for Mental Health, the General Medical Council and a range of other relevant organisations.

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