Brian Paddick’s tells of death of former boyfriend in heartbreaking and personal interview

Lib Dem peer and Home Affairs spokesperson has talked to Buzzfeed about the death of his former boyfriend from an accidental overdose of the drug GHB.

In an emotional and candid interview, he described how he and Michael had been in a relationship, which, after they split up, became a very close and enduring friendship.

In 2013, Brian received a call from Michael’s brother with the horrific news that Michael was on life support. He rushed to the Intensive Care Unit to say goodbye.

At the inquest into Michael’s death, the Coroner pointed out the key sign that he had been in trouble – which none of the others at the party had realised.

He lay down on a sofa and started snoring, prompting the other men at the party to move to another room. As the party’s host described this to the inquest, Paddick says, the coroner interrupted the evidence and told the hearing: “For future reference, if someone has taken GHB and they start snoring, that’s when to call the ambulance, because that’s a sign their respiratory system is shutting down.”

Brian says that education about the risks of chemsex drugs is essential. But there also needs to be a change in the way the Police deal with these things:

“I don’t have all the answers around legislation,” he says. But what he is sure about is what the government needs to do to shift the police into better managing the problem. Currently, many gay men who use GHB and experience a crime within a chemsex setting (in particular sexual violence) don’t report it for fear of being themselves subject to a police investigation for using an illegal substance.

The Home Office, therefore, needs to instruct the police and CPS to “say [publicly] that our priority is to look after victims of sexual assault and save lives rather than prosecute people for the possession of drugs,” he says. “Then the police and the CPS will change.”

“The whole system, whether it’s the law, the police, or the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service], needs to be focused on saving people’s lives rather than social control,” says Paddick, “because if we’ve learnt anything about the so-called war on drugs it is that it doesn’t work.”

In the interview, he also describes how, some years ago, the current Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick advised him against coming out as gay because he’d always be labelled as “the gay policeman.” In all sorts of newspaper reports, this was indeed added in whether it was relevant or not.

The intense pain and loss of losing someone so close in such circumstances is clear. Everyone who reads this interview will have huge sympathy with Brian. He wanted to speak out to raise awareness of the issues around chemsex drugs and we should listen to him.



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  • OnceALibDem 29th Sep '18 - 1:19pm

    There will be other organisations but this is my local organisation campaigning on various sexual health issues

  • David Walsh 29th Sep '18 - 9:05pm

    Prohibition never works and anything that causes, or could cause, medical issues should always be in the purview of the health service, for prevention and rehabilitation.

    That’s not to say supply chains where needed shouldn’t be legislated and policed but the end user should always be supported [medically], and offered that support unconditionally.

    I’ve know people who would have happily and voluntarily reported to GP their use to ‘get clean’ but for the fear of being prosecuted. I’m not going to say they were the cliched upstanding members of the community, save for their substance use, but you do have to ask what’s better for society – someone who sorts themselves out or the costs, and subsequent problems, of processing them through the criminal system.

    Having worked closely with the Met, and having been a young adult in the late 90’s / 2000’s I sympathise with Lord Paddick’s concerns with coming out. The decision to use predominantly LGBT officers to support the LGBT community in the aftermath of the Admiral Duncan bomb was a key change to how we started to perceive the Police. Prior to that they were seen as bullying and harassing to the community, partly due to S28 and partly because of the laws they had enforced for years. That was 1999 and the Police’s internal culture, arguably institutionalised, will still take years to resolve. Yes it’s better today and they have put a lot of effort into changes, but it’s nowhere near perfect.

    As always, if I can help in some way with improving these issues, please get in touch.

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