Tragic mums drugs misery

A DETERMINED mother has vowed never to give up her fight against the drug she blames for her daughter's suicide.

Stephanie Gatchell has battled for three years to raise awareness of the dangers of anti-depressant drugs following her daughter Sharise's death in May 2003.

Sharise was first prescribed Seroxat for a few months when she was just 16, and secretly started taking the drug again 17 days before she took her own life at the age of 18. And her mother, who now lives in De Cham Avenue, has taken her campaign as far as Parliament.

Stephanie (left) is part of the Seroxat User Group, who lobbied Public Health Minister Jane Kennedy at an hour-long meeting on March 2. She hopes the meeting will lead to better monitoring and control of Seroxat and similar drugs.

Stephanie said: "I don't want other mothers to go through what I did. It would be so easy to just get on with my life, but I can't do that. I'm going to carry on until my last day, or until we achieve something."

Sharise complained of suicidal thoughts when she attended a doctor aged 16. Her mother claimed her prescription initially left her feeling "full of life", but she says the drug turned her from a shy, hard-working student into a disinterested and occasionally aggressive person.

Stephanie coaxed her off the drug after a few months when she realised her daughter was self-harming.

But she said: "She was never the same. She wasn't mentally stable after that."