New edition of 5,742 Days calls for drugs to be legalised and regulated

7 July 2014 by in 5742 Days, Lifestyle

Martha Fernback was 15 years old when she died on 20 July 2013 after swallowing half a gram of MDMA powder (more widely known as ecstasy).  Since then her mother Anne-Marie Cockburn has suggested that the criminalisation of drugs contributed to her death.                  

At Martha’s inquest in Oxford in June Anne-Marie made her strongest call yet for senior politicians to enter into dialogue regarding fundamental reform of UK drug policy. After the inquest she invited Theresa May, Norman Baker and Yvette Cooper to “start a sensible dialogue for change, from prohibition to strict and responsible regulation of recreational drugs. This will help to safeguard our children and lead to a safer society for us all by putting doctors and pharmacists, not dealers, in control of drugs.” 

Now a new chapter in the anniversary edition of Anne-Marie’s heartbreaking book 5,742 Days: A mother’s journey through loss brings the story up to date with the sentencing of the youth who supplied the MDMA, her public forgiveness of him, and her now public position that drug supply has to be taken out of the hands of criminals and given to pharmacists and GPs. The public response to Anne-Marie’s story has been incredible. She has received letters from all over the world, from prisoners doing time for drug smuggling, members of the House of Lords, other bereaved parents, to worried parents who have their own teenagers to contend with. It is for those teenagers that she has started her campaign. She writes:

“What is crystal clear to me now is that strict and responsible regulation of drugs is vital. This means taking drugs out of the hands of dealers and treating them in the same way as pharmaceuticals. Licensed drugs are labelled, ingredients are listed and necessary dosage information is provided.

Under prohibition, it is impossible to fully educate people as there is no way to tell what drugs contain, but despite this, many people are still willing to take risks.

It is important to stress that we need to do what we can in order to deter young people from taking drugs. However, had Martha known that what she was about to take was 91% pure, she would probably have taken a lot less, in fact I’d go as far as to say that she might still be alive.

Martha wanted to get high, she didn’t want to die. No parent wants either, but there’s one of those options that’s preferable to the other.”

9781908984333 small for AI

For further information contact:
Catherine Holdsworth:

5,742 DAYS
(Special 1st Anniversary Edition)
Anne-Marie Cockburn
£9.99 | Publication date:  20 July 2014 | ISBN: 9781908984333
Paperback | 198 x 129mm |174pp | Published by Infinite Ideas


Notes for editors
As a legacy of Martha’s death, Anne-Marie set up a website to encourage others to become involved in safeguarding the lives of young people: