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A MUM has revealed her heartache over her teenage son’s death – after taking prescription drugs a friend bought on the dark web.
William Horley, 17, from Herne Bay, Kent, had an accidental overdose on painkiller Tramadol, which he took on a night out in July last year.
His mum Kim Webster, 48, told how her son was a sensible lad who didn’t normally do drugs – and knew his future career in the army had a zero tolerance policy.
The project manager said: “Will wasn’t a drug addict. This was an awful accident, a teenager out having fun his friends, making a momentary bad decision and paying the ultimate price.
“Such a terrible waste of a promising young life. Tramadol is a prescription drug and as a naive young person, my son would have assumed that made it safe.
“But of course it isn’t. Any drug is dangerous if it’s not prescribed and not taken in the correct dosage.”
Kim has another son Jack, 22, and twin stepdaughters Hannah and Zoe, 24, through her husband Rob, 53, a builder.
She added: “Will was 6ft 6ins tall, a handsome, sports-mad lad who’d achieved his long term ambition and been accepted into the Royal Artillery.
“He was due to join the army just three months after he passed away. In the meantime, he had a job waiting tables in a restaurant.
“Will was a sensible boy and we had talked about drugs. He always told me ‘Mum, I’m not stupid. I’m going into the army which has a zero tolerance drugs policy’.
“There was one occasion when I caught him smoking a joint and gave him a real rollicking – but what teenager hasn’t done that?
“I had no fears about my son getting involved with drugs, because I believed he’d never put his future in jeopardy.”
Will wasn’t a drug addict. This was an awful accident, a teenager out having fun his friends, making a momentary bad decision and paying the ultimate price
On the day Will died, July 23, he went to the beach in Whitstable with some friends for some beers – after a 12-hour shift working at the seaside town’s Oyster Festival.
Kim said: “I didn’t think anything of it. My last words to him were ‘have a good time and don’t be too late, the key’s under the mat’.
“I went to bed as usual. At 5am the next day, I woke with an uneasy feeling.
“I went into Will’s bedroom and he wasn’t there. That wasn’t typical for him, so I woke my family.
“They thought he’d probably crashed at a friend’s house but I had a nagging feeling something must be wrong.”
Will wasn’t answering his phone, and neither were any of his mates, so his mum set off to look for him in her car.
Kim said: “A couple of hours later, I phoned the restaurant where he worked.
“The manager told me he hadn’t turned up for his shift, but there was a call from a friend who also worked there, reporting them both sick.
Tramadol is a prescription drug and as a naive young person, my son would have assumed that made it safe – but of course it isn’t
“I asked the manager to ring that friend and tell Will to contact me.
“Shortly afterwards, the manager called back and said Will was on his way to hospital.
“Hearing that, I thought perhaps he’d drunk too much. I had no inkling it might be anything to do with drugs.”
But by the time Kim arrived at Margate’s Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital, she was told Will had already died.
The heartbroken mum was left to identify her son’s body.
An autopsy revealed that Will was killed by an overdose of the prescription drug Tramadol, which one of his friends is thought to have bought on the dark web.
I tell teenagers how, as a mother, I had to identify my son’s body, break the news he was dead, and decide whether his body should be buried or cremated
Kim said: “Will died because he did something that was out of character for him, when he took a prescription drug to get high.
“It was a naive teenager’s one-off lapse of judgement, but it cost my boy his life.”
Will would have turned 18 that November. In January, an inquest recorded a verdict of Tramadol overdose with pneumonia.
During the hearing, Will’s friend said he had known him to occasionally smoke weed, but this was the first time he was known to have taken Tramadol.
A Kent Police investigation into where the drug came from is ongoing.
One person has been arrested but nobody has been charged with any offence.
In February 2019, Kim asked Will’s school if she could speak to other pupils about the dangers of taking prescription drugs.
Tramadol: the facts
Tramadol is a strong painkiller used to treat moderate to severe pain – i.e. after an operation or serious injury.
It’s only legally available on prescription, to those aged 12 or older.
Like other opiod drugs, overdosing on Tramadol can kill and the drug can be addictive.
In June 2014, Tramadol was upgraded to a Class C substance and placed in Schedule III to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations – in a bid to reduce prescriptions.
It’s estimated one in six teens have taken prescription meds to get high.
Statistics show the vast majority of teenagers who abuse prescription medications obtain them from home and family members.
Addiction Helper advises parents to talk to kids about the dangers of prescription drug abuse, and keep pills in a locked cabinet.
Kim said: “I felt the need to warn other young people, that this could happen to any one of them.
“These drugs are so easy for teenagers to obtain. They don’t have to go out and locate a drug dealer.
“They can find substances to abuse in the family medicine cabinet.
“Or they can order them over the internet from the privacy of their bedroom, then the postman will bring them right to their front door.”
Kim now gives regular talks about the dangers of prescription drugs in schools and colleges across the country.
She said: “Young people think drugs like Tramadol and Xanax are safe because doctors can prescribe them. There are even adverts for prescription drugs popping up on Snapchat, so the temptation’s constant.
“But drugs on the dark web are often mixed with other chemicals, so nobody can be entirely sure what they’re taking.
“I urge young people to think about their family and what would happen to the people they love, if things go wrong.
“I tell them how, as a mother, I had to identify my son’s body, break the news he was dead to his brother, father and grandparents, and decide whether his body should be buried or cremated.
“No mum should ever have to do those things for their child. What I have to tell these teenagers is the truth and it’s very powerful.”
Kim now works with Kent-based rehabilitation unit Kenward Trust – www.kenwardtrust.org – to raise awareness of the dangers of buying prescription drugs.
She said: “It isn’t easy for me to go out and tell a roomful of strangers about how I lost my son.
“I’m still grieving for him – sometimes it feels as if my heart is being squeezed in my chest, to the point that I can’t catch my breath.
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“But I need to get his message out there. Will had his life before him and was about to start living the dreams he’d held since a little boy.
“He didn’t want this to happen to him and wouldn’t want it to happen to others.”
The family have also launched a charity, the Will Horley Foundation, to fund boxing for children in need.
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To Purchase This Product/Services, Go To The Store Link Above Or Go To http://www.become007.com/store/ A baby boy died from severe brain damage after he was shook by his parents, a court heard. Ah’Kiell Walker, from Gloucester, was discovered freezing cold and soaking wet, with his …
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A vigil was held Tuesday evening for a 10-year-old girl who died Friday night after she was found unresponsive in a pool at a Monroeville hotel.
Keaozjae Brown, of Homestead, was found in the pool at the Hampton Inn on Mosside Boulevard just before 7 p.m. Friday, authorities said. She was taken to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, where she died about 9 p.m.
Tuesday’s vigil was held outside the hospital and included a balloon release.
Lakeila Brown, Keaozjae’s mother, told Channel 11 News that her family was at the hotel for a party when a family member rushed to tell her that her daughter was receiving CPR.
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