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Dying to be just one of the crowd
date: 18-July-2005
source : HERALD SUN
country: AUSTRALIA
editorial comment editorial comment
Maybe, just maybe, Belinda's friends would have called for help if they were not fearful of the legal consequences thye could have faced themselves. When people who provide drugs get sued for murder, what do people expect? Any common sense left in the mind of drug warriors? Is that how they protect the children? A victim of drugs or a victim of drug policy?

RAVE party-goers are using amphetamines to try to kick-start GHB overdose victims out of unconsciousness.

Stunned police have discovered it is common practice in Melbourne's dance scene.
The dangerous tactic was used on 21-year-old Belinda Davey -- but failed to save her life.

She is Victoria's first fatal victim of the party drug GHB.

Police investigating the tragic death told her father about the abortive attempt to use amphetamines to bring his daughter round.

"What they should have done was ring an ambulance or take Belinda to hospital," he said.

"Instead, they gave her another dangerous drug on top of the dangerous drug that had already rendered her unconscious.

"That is a scary and stupid thing to do, but police tell me they have discovered the practice is common among clubbers.

"Their misguided rationale is that the GHB has slowed the heart rate right down so if they use amphetamines it will stimulate the overdose victim back to consciousness."

Belinda was not the sort of person anybody expected to become a drug overdose statistic.

That she did should come as a warning that if it can happen to her, it can happen to anybody.

Belinda came from a good home. Although her parents separated when she was young, she maintained a loving relationship with both.

And she adored her three younger half-brothers and two younger half-sisters.

Belinda was born in Warragul and spent six years living in the area before moving to Pakenham. She was a successful student at Pakenham Secondary College, where she did her VCE.

Her father said Belinda came to live with him when she was 14. His three other children also moved in.

"Belinda was superb with them and was an enormous help to me during some difficult years as a single father," he said.

"She was the main female influence in their lives and was a superb role model for them.

"Belinda was intelligent, bubbly, loved life and loved helping people.

"She had plans for the future and was looking forward to fulfilling them."

Belinda began a nursing course at 18, soon after leaving school.

She worked part-time at aged care homes to get experience and earn some money.

"Belinda always wanted to help others, which is why she chose nursing as a career," her father said.

"After she qualified she signed up with a nursing agency and worked at hospitals and aged care homes across Melbourne's south-east.

"She loved it and was very good at it."

Belinda also loved to dance and sing.

Belinda moved out of her father's home in mid-2004 when he moved back to Warragul.

"She was ready to become a bit more independent by then and started sharing a house in Mt Waverley with a female friend," he said.

"It was about this time that she started going to nightclubs, both because of her love of dancing and because that's what her friends were doing.

"Then she met a bloke she was very keen on. He was a regular drug user, particularly ecstasy."

He ditched her just before Christmas last year, telling her that she was not cool as she didn't use drugs.

"Belinda was really cut up about it, feeling the main reason he dumped her was because she wouldn't become part of the supposedly cool set and take party drugs to enhance the dance experience," her father said.

"Her friends have told me she confessed to having had her first ecstasy tablet in mid-January. She explained to them that she tried it because she wanted to be accepted by the dance crowd. She wanted to be one of them.

"Belinda died four weeks after taking that first ecstasy tablet.

"I spoke to her the day before she died. She had just finished a Thursday night shift at Berwick Hospital and was looking forward to some sleep before heading out to a friend's 21st that night.

"The next call I got about her was from her mother on the following Sunday to tell me police had contacted her to tell her Belinda was dead."

Police and friends of Belinda have since been able to fill him in on what happened on the Friday and Saturday.

"Belinda came home to change into her dance gear after the 21st and headed off to the Palace complex in St Kilda," her father said.

"She met some people there who persuaded her to go to a day club in the city, one of those places that opens at 7.30am to cater for ravers and clubbers who want to keep dancing.

"Her friends have told me she did take ecstasy that night, which is really out of character.

"But, as her friends explain it, Belinda wanted to be accepted by the dance crowd and it seems to be accepted you have to join in the drug-taking.

"Police have told me it is the norm among serious ravers and clubbers to take such things as ecstasy, speed and, to a lesser extent, GHB.

"Belinda left the Pure Hard Dance club, which is in a lane off Russell St in the city, about noon to go to a nearby car park, where it was common knowledge you could get drugs. She got into a car being run as a drugs supermarket by a teenage boy.

"He had a commercial water bottle in there and she had a drink out of it, thinking it was water.

"It was GHB and she quickly fell unconscious."

An off-duty policeman who arrived to pick up his car was asked by the attendant to speak to a group of people hanging around a car in Bay 381 on the basement level of the public car park below the Saville On Russell hotel.

When he arrived he found Belinda slumped in the front passenger seat. There were four young males and a young female hanging around the car.

The ambulance he called arrived just after 6pm, but Belinda was already dead.

"So for almost six hours these people did nothing to try to save Belinda's life," her father said.

"Quite simply, if this can happen to Belinda, then it can happen to any kid.

"I urge every parent to educate themselves about the dangers of all drugs and to speak to their children about it.

"And to be aware that if your children go to raves, nightclubs, recovery clubs or day clubs then, from what police have told me, there is more chance than not that they are taking ecstasy or other drugs.

"How has society let it become normal and accepted for young people to take drugs so that they can dance for 24 hours straight?

"Why isn't more being done to educate users and catch dealers?

"And I don't just mean catch the street dealers that sell from cars outside nightclubs, but those above them who buy or make illegal drugs in bulk.

"These people are the scum of the earth and they are killing and harming our children.

"The only reason I am highlighting what happened to Belinda is in the hope telling her story might make a difference.

"Might make some kid think twice before popping some tablet or dangerous liquid into their mouth.

"Might make some parent take more notice of what their son or daughter is doing.

"I believe Belinda would have wanted some good to come out of her death, just as she did good in her life."

Belinda's mother said she and Belinda had discussed drugs two weeks before she died.

"She sent me a message on the Friday afternoon saying she needed some family time and that she was coming up for the weekend," she said.

"After dinner she and I got into our pyjamas and put a chick flick DVD on and just lounged around.

"She had loved to dance ever since she was five years old and I knew she was going to dance clubs.

"I told her to be careful and raised the subject of drugs. She told me not to worry, but she also said that they were everywhere and that people in clubs were always coming up and asking if you wanted drugs.

"She said the drug use in dance clubs was really in your face and drugs were readily available.

"One of the last pleasant memories I have of her is from that weekend.

"She put a CD on and started dancing with my five-year-old daughter in the lounge room.

"The pair of them were loving it -- Belinda was dead two weeks later."

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