Fatal obsession: Only 5% of Manchester would buy drugs online after diet pill death

The tragic death of 21-year-old Aimee Louise Parry after she took a lethal dose of diet pills has led to a public appeal from her mother urging people to stop taking these ‘highly toxic’ tablets.

But in a world where ads for the latest fat-burning wonder drug litter our Facebook pages and Twitter feeds how many other people, desperate for some weightloss help, are buying potentially deadly/damaging sunbstances online?

Wondering how much Manchester really know about what they put into their bodies, and how far they would go for ‘self-improvement’, MM took to the streets to ask: 

Would YOU buy drugs or supplements off the internet? 

The answer was a resounding no, with most people vowing they would never venture into the risky roulette of experimenting with online supplements.

We discussed the merits versus the dangers of diet pills, muscle supplements, and even concentration-enhancing chemicals. 

However, almost everyone formed their opinion based on either their own prior experience or that of someone they know.

‘PUT OFF FOR LIFE’: Interior design student Femi says her dad’s bad experience with diet pills has convinced her to stay clear

Femi Da Costa-Greaves, 22, is an interior design student living in Withington and had a rather close-to-home reason to be wary of these products.

She said: “My auntie used to take diet pills that we had to confiscate off her because she became really obsessive with them. That was scary enough but it gets worse.

“My dad once took the pills by accident when he had some joint pain – they were kept in a painkiller bottle in the kitchen drawer.

“They gave him the worst stomach ache he had ever had, was in bed for a day, and he looked absolutely terrible! That put me off for life.”

Anastasia Vanderham, 34, an administrative assistant from Ancoats shared a similar experience – this time with weight loss ‘berry supplements’.

“I bought some with a friend as we’d seen them advertised on the TV, saying they could help you to lose a stone in a week.

“They were such a scam, and did nothing but give my friend some serious bowel issues – never again!

“On a serious note though, I think there is a wider societal issue that puts pressure on people to look to such dangerous measures to improve their looks and that should change.”

Tiffany Cuthbert, 24, a travel agent living in the Northern Quarter said she too has been put off after seeing her friend’s experience with diet pills.

She said: “My colleague became scarily addicted to diet pills.

“She was losing weight, and she said she found she was focused at work, but when her boss became worried at her obsessive tendencies it turned out what she was taking was basically a form of methamphetamines! It’s scary what you can get online so easily.”

‘IT’S WORRYING’: Urmston chef Cain Rogerson says that what frightens him is buying pills with no idea what’s in them

Cain Rogerson, 26, a chef from Urmston, was most concerned about not knowing what makes up many of the pills available online.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with buying protein supplements online, but I think when people start buying things they have no idea what’s in them it get’s worrying.

Speaking about Eloise Aimee Parry, he said: “What happened [to her] just shows that it’s easy to buy really dangerous pills.

“I get though that it’s difficult to know where to draw the line and one thing can lead to another.

“A lot of people use protein supplements for example, but when does that turn into things like steroids or other performance enhancing drugs – that’s what scares me.”

Zen Ismail, 22, a medical student living in Withington was wary of buying unknown substances from a very practical perspective.

He said: “Diet pills these days are so dangerous. 

“There is too much unlicensed stuff that goes into random things that are sold on the internet in so-called ‘miracle pills’.

“I don’t really understand why people fall for the marketing – they say if something seems too good to be true it probably is!”

‘WORKED FOR ME’: Science journalist Conrad bought high-strength vitamins when he was spending a lot of time in a lab

Conrad Bower, 45, a science journalist from Bolton, was one of the few people who said he has, and would buy supplements off the internet in future.

“I bought high-strength vitamins a couple of years ago when I was spending a lot of time in a lab, away from sunlight, and feeling withdrawn and unwell.

“Being a scientist I would be cautious of some of the more obscure products claiming to contain exotic ingredients.

“Whether it was a placebo effect or not I don’t know, but I felt better, and so for me they worked!” 

‘EAT WELL INSTEAD’: Gardener Dan Birtles doesn’t understand the pill craze and thinks sorting your nutrition is the best approach

Dan Birtles, 26 a gardener from Rusholme, couldn’t comprehend why anyone would pump their body with ‘unnecessary’ chemicals, especially in relation to diet pills and nutritional supplements.

“I don’t understand when people stopped nourishing themselves the proper way with what they eat. 

“If you eat well in the first place, there is no need for quick-fix diet pills. 

“Even with vitamin pills, although they might not be dangerous, you can get all of the nutrients that you need to thrive by eating the right things and living healthily.

“We should be looking after our bodies from the inside, not challenging them.”

Forensic psychologist Naomi Tilman, 28, from Salford, experienced the ill effects of relying on ‘performance enhancing’ supplements to get her through exams. 

She said: “I took some concentration pills I had bought from the internet during my finals at uni.

“I was sure they helped at the time, but looking back it was a scary addiction.

“People need to be made aware of the dangers, and it should be talked about more – I didn’t tell anyone how I felt because I was scared I would get in trouble and its so stupid because something serious could have happened.”

Northern Quarter finance executive Soren Winterson, 27, shared a similar experience.

“My housemate had a bad reaction to some pills which I think were for ADHD that sent him completely haywire.

“He would stay up until 6am working – not productively, but obsessively.

“When we convinced him to stop taking them his immune system was completely shot and he was ill for weeks.”

‘OUT OF HAND’: UoM history student Ben thinks his mate’s facial hair boosting spend was money wasted

Ben Beach, 21, a University of Manchester history student thought that the amount of products claiming to do different things is ‘getting out of hand’.

He said: “A mate of mine spent a ridiculous £40 on a ‘beard-boosting’ product from a random site on the internet – which, surprisingly, did absolutely nothing. Money well spent mate!”

Top image courtesy of Rob, with thanks

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