YEP Says: Why it’s vital the story of Leeds teen Josh Edwards is told

Josh Edwards.
Josh Edwards.
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We know our that this photograph - and on the front page of today’s newspaper - is distressing.

But we make no apologies for it, because the family of Josh Edwards have asked us to use it.

READ MORE: Hundreds pay tribute to “caring” Leeds teenager after tragic drug death

They want us to show you what drugs did to their wonderful son.

Such unimaginable grief cannot be for nothing and they don’t want it to be. They want the story of this grim and unpleasant end to his too-short life to be heard by others, for the message to get through.

Drugs can kill.

READ MORE: Devastated family ask people to share this photo after Leeds teenager’s tragic drug death

You do not have to be an addict to die from drugs use. You do not have to use a lot of drugs to die from drugs use. You do not have to be injecting heroin into your veins to die from drugs use.

The YEP has lost count of the times we report on a young person losing their life after experimenting with drugs. We are not prudish, we are not judgemental, we are not in any way levelling blame or criticism on those that take drugs, because for every teenager that dies there will be dozens who shrug their shoulders and tell themselves that won’t happen to them because they are “more careful”; “more knowledgeable”; “more streetwise”.

They tell themselves this, because, like the functioning heavy drinker who is smartly dressed, holds down a job, and does not swig White Lightening from a bottle in the street, they do not believe they have a problem.

But the drug dealers do not play by the rules, they are happy to cut those drugs with other harmful substances, they are happy to sell you combinations which are not going to do good things to your body or mind.

And the body does not play by the rules, one person could take a drug 100 times and suffer no apparent ill effects, but the first-time experimenter could end up paying the ultimate price because their body rejects such stimulation in tragic fashion.

Josh did not mean to die. He would not have wanted his parents, his friends and his family to be going through the torture they are going through.

Today his story is being told because his parents want you to read it. Please read it. Please share it.

He may not be the last such death we have to report on, but he may be the reason we don’t have to report on more. RIP Josh Edwards