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Parents believe student's drug death caused by spiked drink

Greg Mackie was just 18-years-old when his body was found in halls at Edinburgh College.

Greg Mackie was just 18-years-old when his body was found in student halls in Edinburgh.

He had recently started a college course in TV and media and harboured dreams of emigrating to Australia.

A toxicology report found that Greg, from Biggar in South Lanarkshire, had the equivalent of five ecstasy tablets in his system, but there was no trace of alcohol.

Police officially classed it as a non-suspicious drugs death - but his parents Colin and Mandy are not convinced.

They believe their son fell victim to a spiked soft drink, and are now launching an awareness campaign in a bid to prevent others suffering the same fate.

Mr Mackie said: "We want to let people know it doesn't just happen to girls, it happens to boys.

"It's not really a prank - it can cost a life, we're the witnesses that it has cost a life."

Drug death: Greg Mackie died in student halls in November 2017.
Drug death: Greg Mackie died in student halls in November 2017. STV

Mrs Mackie said she and her husband have heard from many people who believe they have had their drinks spiked.

She said: "We need [spiking victims] to come forward, and say 'that happened to me, this is how it affected me', so that we've got more information to put across when someone comes to us for help, so we know exactly what roads it takes people down.

"We need to get that into schools as well."

Scott Frame, who owns the Craigdhu bar in Coatbridge, is among the publicans and hoteliers supporting the campaign by using branded "'spike aware' beer mats and promoting 'anti-spike' kits.

He has personal experience of having his drink spiked while in a nightclub in his late teens.

"It's very disorientating," he said. "Once I got home, it was as if it just hit me.

"I remember lying at the top of the staircase shouting for [my mum and stepdad] to come and help me because I couldn't move."

Tribute: A speedway academy is being launched in Greg's name.
Tribute: A speedway academy is being launched in Greg's name. STV

He added: "I think the public has to play their part too ... I don't think there is enough awareness about spiking, because nobody has ever spoken up about it."

Greg's family are also celebrating his love of speedway driving by launching the Greg Mackie Speedway Academy; a charity encouraging disadvantaged young people to get into motorsports.

The family's local MSP Aileen Campbell is supporting the charity and campaign.

She said: "It's incredibly inspiring to see the strength and courage shown by Colin and Mandy who have sought to create a legacy from Greg's life to help others through their campaign to prevent the harm caused by drink-spiking and to explore ways to provide young people with the opportunity to take part in speedway.

"As their MSP, I will do what I can to help support the family with their plans to ensure that the memory of Greg can live on."

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