Published: 00:01, 02 February 2018
The heartbroken dad of a talented young musician has told of his devastation at losing his "caring and talented" son to a deadly party drug.
Gary Lambert spoke to KentOnline's sister paper, the Kentish Gazette, after an inquest into the death of 22-year-old Joshua Lambert-Price, one of three men found dead at a house in Canterbury; all victims of lethal doses of fentanyl.
The drug is a painkiller said to be 100 times more potent than heroin and increasingly used as a recreational high.
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Dad-of-four Mr Lambert, 52, says he is still reeling from the tragedy.
“My life will never be the same,” he said. “I wake up crying every day.
“You don’t expect your children to die before you, it’s not the natural order of things.
“I still have nightmares about the policeman who called to tell me Josh was dead.
“It was by far the most unpleasant experience of my life and I’m still reeling from it.
“I do not want any family to go through what we have.”
Joshua, who was well known on the Canterbury busking scene, died with fellow musician Max Martin after taking fentanyl at the house in Tudor Road, Canterbury, last August.
Just five days earlier, their friend James Truscott was found dead at the same house after also taking the substance, which has the street name China White.
As at the inquests of Mr Martin and Mr Truscott, a coroner has now concluded Josh’s death was “drug-related”.
The hearing last week was told how the alarm was raised about Josh’s welfare by his girlfriend, Ayla Price, after she became concerned when he did not respond to her messages.
She asked a friend, Kevan Grove, to call at his attic flat in Tudor Road, where he made the tragic discovery.
He found Mr Lambert-Price lying on his back on his bed and Mr Martin slumped in a crumpled heap on the floor.
In a statement to the court he said: “They appeared to be dead. Both felt cold and stiff and there were no signs of life. It was a hugely shocking experience for me.”
Paramedics were called but neither man could be revived.
A post-mortem revealed Josh had taken a fatal level of fentanyl, which assistant coroner James Dillon said was likely to have been “illicitly obtained”.
Miss Price told Mr Dillon that she and Josh regularly went to music festivals together.
She said in the past he had taken a variety of drugs, including ketamine, LSD, cocaine, speed and cannabis, which she described as “standard party drugs”.
“He knew what he could handle and would never go over the top,” she said.
But Mr Lambert, a contemporary dance lecturer of Joy Lane, Whitstable, insists his son was not a habitual drug user.
He does, however, find it “unfathomable” that Josh would have taken the same substance which killed his friend just five days earlier.
“I don’t have any answers but recreational drug-taking is a widespread issue for society made more acceptable by celebrities,” he said.
"My life will never be the same... I wake up crying every day" - Gary Lambert
“It’s also a fact that drug dealers are unscrupulous as to how they cut drugs and don’t care if users’ lives are put at risk.”
Mr Lambert said of his son: “He was a wonderful, talented and caring individual who loved life and made the world a better place. I think his popularity was evident at his funeral, which was attended by 150 people.
“He was an amazing, loving son who lived for music. Anyone who came in contact with him would vouch that he was an incredible individual.”
Mr Lambert says he was aware his son took recreational drugs on occasion.
“I’m not defending his use of them but they are so widespread I have no idea what the answer is,” he said.
“Like a lot of young people, Josh experimented, but the fact is they are used by people from all walks of life and driven by celebrity culture.
“Young people today need to be incredibly aware of the situation they are putting themselves in because taking anything that has possibly been cut with this terrible drug could end their lives – all for a moment of high or fun.”
Mr Lambert said: “It’s profoundly changed the rest of my life and impacted on his brothers and sisters. The sense of loss is an abyss that there is no bottom to and the depth of sadness and sorrow is something I have never experienced.”
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