Death of son leads Plymouth man to warn against cannabis use
THE father of a 28-year-old who killed himself by jumping off the Tamar Bridge has warned other young people of the devastating effects of drugs.
Daniel Irving, who lived in Hawkinge Gardens in Ernesettle, died on September 2 last year after jumping from the Plymouth side of the Tamar Bridge onto Wolseley Road.
Dave Irving, Daniel's father, said after an inquest into his son's death: "Dan got in with the wrong people and took cannabis and other so called social drugs."
He added that he believed this led to the development of psychosis "which eventually went on to destroy his life and had a massive impact on the lives of his family and close friends".
"It is such a tragic waste of a young life, he will be missed so, so much.
"Hopefully some of the younger readers of The Herald will see cannabis for what it really is, a killer."
The inquest heard how Daniel was bipolar and had a number of mental health problems including schizophrenia, depression and psychosis, for which he had been receiving treatment since 2005.
Evidence from Daniel's dad, an engineering design manager, told of his history of mental illness.
Mr Irving said: "He was far from well from a mental health perspective.
"He had highs and lows, but I was not aware of any attempts in the past that he tried to self harm or take his own life."
CCTV showed Daniel, who was unemployed, walking across the bridge from the Saltash side at around 10pm, according to police.
DC Stockton from Devonport Police Station gave evidence at the inquest.
She said: "Dan was the sole person on the bridge.
"He looks over the bridge on three occasions when it's over water.
"He then looks from the bridge when it's over Wolseley Road and jumps."
Dr Naresh Buttan, a psychologist, gave evidence at the inquest in a written statement.
He said: "Daniel smoked cannabis and in the past he had taken speed, ecstasy and amphetamines.
"He had four admissions to hospital, all of them voluntary.
"During his last few days he was more insightful into his difficulties."
Dr Buttan added: "I can not find a root cause in his untimely death."
A post mortem revealed that Daniel died of multiple injuries, including severe head injuries, caused by the fall.
Andrew Cox, deputy coroner for Plymouth, recorded a verdict of suicide.
EXPERTS WARN OVER MENTAL HEALTH EFFECTS OF DRUG USE
EXPERTS in mental health have spoken out about the link between drugs such as cannabis and mental health issues.
Dr Aarohee Desai-Gupta is from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
The consultant psychiatrist said: "There have been a number of studies done in different parts of the world which repeatedly show a definite link between cannabis use and schizophrenia.
"There are also studies that link teenage cannabis use with the onset of depression.
"This is particularly relevant when cannabis is used by those aged 14 to 16.
"The more regularly its used and the higher the dosage the more likely it is that the teenager will develop some sort of schizophrenic or psychotic illness, particularly in those who are genetically susceptible."
Nick Pennell, Director of Plymouth and District Mind said: "There is a lot of evidence nationally that the use of drugs can bring on or exacerbate mental health problems.
"Two out of three people that do misuse drugs are likely to experience some sort of mental health issues.
"Here in Plymouth there is a lot of work to be done with partner agencies on these issues.
"We already work closely with the Harbour Centre and Hamoaze House, two drug and alcohol support centres in the city but are always looking to do more.
"We do have people on our programmes who misuse drugs and alcohol which is why the agencies should work together on this issue.
"I think that it is important for people to seek help, or to be encouraged to seek help, at the earliest possible stage, there are a number of organisations available to provide support within the city and these organisations are increasingly working together in order to provide a continuous and comprehensive service to people within Plymouth."