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By Emily Allen
A coroner today questioned the wisdom of ‘mind-altering’ drugs to treat young children after the depressed ten-year-old cousin of singer Mick Hucknall hanged himself.
Ian Smith hit out at the pressures placed on youngsters by today’s society after being told of the death of Harry Hucknall, who was given fluoxetine and Ritalin for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
He said: ‘I do believe it reflects upon society how we expect children to behave. We expect them to be little adults.
‘We as a society quite rightly try to stop children dabbling in street drugs. And yet a child with this label of ADHD is prescribed, under supervision, mind-altering drugs of a very powerful nature.’
Harry, a twice-removed cousin of the Simply Red singer, was described as a ‘troubled boy’.
He was unsettled by moving home 14 times and bullied at school – on one occasion he was held down and threatened with a screwdriver.
In September, he was found dead in his locked bedroom in the home he shared with his mother in Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria.
The levels of both drugs found in his system were above the normal therapeutic level for adults.
West Cumbria coroner Mr Smith said, although Harry talked of suicide, he did not intend to end his own life. Instead, he told the inquest in Barrow, he ‘died as a consequence of his own actions without understanding their true consequences’.
Harry’s father, Darren, who is separated from his mother, said the drugs were ‘a major contribution to what happened’. ‘He never mentioned he wanted to kill himself before the tablets,’ he claimed.