Inquests Into 'Legal High' Deaths

24 May 2011, 10:27 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

Inquests are being held into the deaths of two men who died after taking a 'legal high' drug.

Michael Bishton and Guy Ebsworth, both from the Isle of Wight, died in separate incidents within days of each other after taking Ivory Wave last August.

The body of 24-year-old Michael Bishton was found by a fisherman in the water off Whitecliff Bay, near Bembridge, Isle of Wight, on Saturday, August 14, 2010.

He had reportedly been showing paranoid behaviour prior to his death.

The body of Mr Ebsworth, 33, of Little London, Newport, was found on board a yacht in the Odessa Boatyard in Newport on August 13, 2010.

Ivory Wave is sold legally for about £15 a packet and is advertised as relaxing bath salts.

But the product has become popular as a legal alternative to illicit drugs.

Last November, the Home Office banned imports of the active ingredient of Ivory Wave, 2-DPMP, following advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).

The compound 2-DPMP is closely related to Ritalin and was initially developed as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy and has been described as a "masked amphetamine".

The ACMD advice followed several reports of Ivory Wave users suffering symptoms of "severe agitation and psychosis" leading to some having to be restrained and sedated.

Professor Les Iversen, ACMD chairman, said: "This is not a nice party drug - it's really quite dangerous."

Mr Bishton's girlfriend, Sammy Betts, 21, was pregnant with her second child with Mr Bishton but had not told him before he died.

She said that Mr Bishton was "a great dad" to their 18-month-old daughter, Alesha.

But she said he had started to become paranoid at his mother's home after taking the legal high Ivory Wave.

She said: "He was a happy, funny guy, always telling jokes, I didn't think he would do something like take that stuff."

Ms Betts added that she wanted to warn people of the dangers of taking Ivory Wave.

She said: "He was getting paranoid thinking people were in the house.

"He had been running upstairs in the house thinking someone was in there and running around the garden at night thinking someone was in the bushes.

"They should get rid of it, I don't want it to happen to someone else."

The hearing will take place at the Isle of Wight Coroner's Court, Newport on Tuesday 24th May.