Matt Ford says he nearly died after taking a legal high
A traumatised teenager was just minutes from death after suffering a heart attack sparked by a legal high he took in his bedroom.
Canterbury College student Matt Ford, 17, lost consciousness and was foaming at the mouth after smoking Exodus Damnation – a herbal incense he bought at the controversial UK Skunkworks shop in Northgate.
His distressed mum watched as he was rushed by ambulance to Kent and Canterbury Hospital, where doctors told him he had suffered a heart attack and would have died within 10 minutes if they had not acted.
Now Matt, who works for a carpenter in Faversham, has warned others against the dangers of taking legal highs and says he will never touch them again.
He said: “I feel really lucky. I don’t think I’ve ever been as scared as that.
“My friend who rang the ambulance said he was just as scared as I was. He didn’t know what to do.
“My mum nearly burst into tears in the ambulance. I’m just so glad I’m here.”
Carpentry student Matt, of Foxgrove Road, Whitstable, took the legal high with two friends in his bedroom at 1pm on Monday.
A packet of Exodus Damnation
He recalled: “As I was smoking a bong I remember my friend taking a phone call and then I just started to black out.
“My friend told me I was having a seizure and foaming at the mouth before he phoned for an ambulance. I remember seeing dragons and spikes.
“He tried moving me but I was shaking so bad he couldn’t hold me. My mum managed to stand me up but I dropped again and hit my head on a tree.
“When I first came round I was laid up in the front garden with paramedics and my mum and step-dad around me just trying to hold me down.
The UK Skunkworks shop in Canterbury
“I passed out again and woke up as I was about to be placed into an ambulance and I just remember panicking.
“My mind was going through hell. I was seeing demons and the rest is indescribable.
“When I came round in hospital the doctor told me I had a heart attack and was 10 minutes away from dying.
“I will never take legal highs again. I had done it a couple of months ago but it was just a few puffs on a joint.
“If I can’t help to get it banned then I just want to make sure it won’t happen to anyone else.”
Online reviews of Exodus Damnation say it offers a “ride into a new era of herbal incense.”
One reads: “Damnation will have your mind twisting straight to the depths of hell”.
Exodus Damnation is advertised on the UK Skunkworks website, but the firm says it is strictly not for “human consumption.”
The website advises users to burn the herbs at home to let the aroma “help you relax”.
“I feel really lucky. I don’t think I’ve ever been as scared as that" - Matt Ford
Matt and his two friends, who are also 17, bought the herbs from UK Skunkworks on Sunday. His friends also smoked them but suffered no ill effects.
No one from the shop was available for comment.
Drugs liaison officer PC Jeff Tredwell warned against ingesting legal highs, saying the effects included extreme paranoia, violent behaviour, seizures and death.
He said: “The vast majority of ‘legal’ highs have never been researched in the normal way a chemical substance for human consumption has to be.
“You take great risks if you ingest anything that has not been tested or states that it is not for human consumption.”
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