A Forfar father has this week called on parents to keep better track of their children and what they are doing after his son collapsed at the weekend.
The man, who asked not to be named, said the 16-year-old had taken what was believed to be ecstacy during an evening out with friends on Saturday to a visiting funfair.
He found his son lying in a pool of vomit not far from the fair after receiving a phone call pleading for help.
He said: “He went out about 6.30 p.m. and I got the call about 7.40 p.m. He hadn’t realised he’d pressed the button on his phone and when the call came in I could hear him speaking and his speech was slurred so I knew something was up.
“I tried shouting down the phone and got no answer so I left the line open and went out to look. I could hear him shouting for help down the phone. When I found him he was lying with sick all around him and he couldn’t put two words together although he did say he’d taken something called MDMA.”
The man rushed his son home by car and sought medical advice by calling Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, but said he was told the teenager “would sleep it off”.
He continued: “I ended up hanging up and calling NHS 24 who sent out an ambulance. Meantime he’d started being sick again and he was sweating a lot. The paramedics checked him over and said it was part of the effect of what he’d taken.”
His son had recovered fully by the next day, but the man said the experience had been frightening.
He added: “I didn’t know what to do half the time, I haven’t seen anything like that in my life.”
His comments came after a story in last week’s Dispatch highlighting problems with antisocial behaviour from teenagers who gather regularly near Lochside Leisure Centre and he said he thought the incident was related. He also said youngsters are coming in to town from other areas including Kirriemuir and Arbroath.
He continued: “I think parents should check up on their kids a bit more. I’ve spoken to parents and half of them don’t know where their kids are or what they’re doing, and it’s not fair on them because they’re good parents.
“I also think there’s not enough for youngsters to do and we need a community centre or something.
“There is the Friday Night Project but they don’t want to go to that because there are too many people telling them what to do. No-one seems to be interested in what they’re doing and the councillors aren’t interested.
“There are a lot of good kids in this town, but there are a lot of bad kids coming in and spoiling it for others.”
Inspector Hamish Gray, Safer Communities Inspector, told the Dispatch that he intends to allocate resources to deal with the problem and reiterated this week that he intends to break up the group.
He said: “The vast majority of youngsters are behaving, but we’ll carry on doing what we’ve been doing and so far we’ve send out advisory letters to six sets of parents.
“It’s disappointing if people think it’s exaggerated. In this case, it sounds as if the parents did really well, but these are potentially life-changing consequences. What if they hadn’t found him and it had gone differently?
“It’s all very well for people to say it’s an exaggerated problem, but they’re saying that because it isn’t their child.”