Newtownards boy 'had a legal high addiction and it’s devastating' say distraught parents
Adam Owens (17) was found lying in West Winds estate
The distraught parents of a County Down teenager found lying dead on the street have said they are ‘devastated’ and pleaded for tighter restrictions on legal highs.
Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death Adam Owens on Monday morning.
The teenager was found lying in the middle of West Winds housing estate in Newtownards, he was taken to hospital by ambulance but died a short time later.
The 17-year-old was known to be addicted to legal highs and had been in a house with friends where it is believed the drugs may have been taken.
Adam’s step-mum Dawn fought back tears, saying: “He was found on the green, just round the corner from us, dead. We believe that it’s due to legal highs, although his post-mortem results haven’t come through yet.
“He had a legal high addiction and it’s devastating. The whole family’s devastated – everybody.
“Legal highs are a major problem around here and something has to be done about it. Somebody has to stop the legal highs because you can go into a shop, you can buy it online and they’re highly addictive.
“They’re killing kids, destroying families. Please – politicians have to do something about this before another child is found dead.”
Adam previously attended Regent House in Newtownards but began to miss classes as his addiction took hold.
“Adam was addicted for over two years. He got that deeply into it that it affected his life – his school, his social life, his home-life and his mental stability.
“We don’t understand how a young boy of 17 can be found dead on the grass. How’s that right?”
Adam’s dad Carl said: “When we discovered Adam was taking legal highs, we looked into it more and started seeing things and hearing things. You can buy it just like a pint of milk.
“I have to walk past the spot where he was found every day when I go to work now. He was my only son – my only child.
As recently as Easter Monday, Carl found his son unconscious on the sofa in the living room.
“He was a good liar. He’d always deny it.
"Days like Easter Monday, he would just sleep it off and say he was fine.
“You just think ‘it won’t happen to you’, but it’s all over."
Tributes have been paid to the young man and a Facebook page has been set up called Help Ban Legal Highs.
It has been liked more than 2,000 times.
A post on the page read: "A very important and close friend of many people passed away! Everyone needs to try and get these banned before we loose another important friend or family member!
"Adam Owens was a great guy who was always there for people in their time of need now we need to be there for him. Wait for us all! We love you Adam."
One tribute said: "Miss you so much every morning buddy."
Another said: "This needs to be sorted ASAP and everyone needs to help as much as they can!! Love you wee man."
Chief Inspector Kyle Gordon of Ards and North Down PSNI said: "The male was brought to hospital by ambulance from Bristol Park early this morning but was pronounced dead a short time later.
"A post mortem examination will be carried out."