Grieving mother issues warning after son’s dad dies from Mount Isa designer drug

LITTLE Franklin isn’t two years old yet, but already he’s the face of the deadly impact of synthetic “designer” drugs on families.

Franklin will never know his father, boilermaker Allan Hughes, 27, who is one of five deaths in Mount Isa that have been linked to MDPV, also known as “bath salts” or synthetic speed.

“Drugs took away Allan’s life,” his partner Stephanie King said. “But it’s stolen ours.’’

Ms King, a research assistant at James Cook University, has broken her silence about her tragic New Year’s Day loss in the hope she can send a potent anti-drug message to help prevent deaths.

It comes after two men last week died from using synthetic cannabis in Mackay.

“Don’t take it, sell it, or be a part of drugs because it will destroy you, your life and the people who love you,’’ Ms King said. “Franklin has lost his father forever. These drugs are ripping too many people’s lives apart.’’

She said Allan was an ordinary, hard-working, doting dad and family man.

“It’s heartbreaking. Allan was a wonderful loving father who will not see his son grow up or see and share the joy as Franklin reaches his milestones.”

Initial findings show his death was caused by MDPV (Methylenedioxypyrovalerone) intoxication after an end-of-year party in the mining town.

MDPV, labelled as “bath salts”, is illicitly sold at sex shops and some tobacconists for about $35 a packet under names such as “Smokin’ Slurrie Incense”, “Hoe”, “Slut”, “Slappa” or “Mingah”.

It can induce psychosis, paranoia, violence, and hallucinations that can last for days. Users take it because it is a cheap and easily obtainable “mimic” of drugs such as amphetamine, LSD or ecstasy.

“It changed Allan. It made him irrational,’’ Ms King said.

“But it was just some toxic cocktail of killer chemicals.’’

In a heartfelt plea, the widow begged: “Stop. Think about what you’re doing and the lives you are ruining. It is time to bring these killer drugs out of the shadows. Cut this business out. Enough is enough,” she said. “Even one death is one too many.’