Student, 23, took her own life with substance she ordered on Amazon

A coroner has sent a warning to Amazon after a student took her own life with a deadly dose of a substance ordered through the internet giant.

Tragic Neha Raju, 23, went online to buy the substance, which is touted as a “suicide drug” on sick web forums.

Although Amazon did not directly sell the product, Neha bought it from a Canadian firm, which as a “secondary seller” used the website to ­advertise goods and process orders.

The chemical, which is legal and used in food production, can be deadly in large quantities. It has been linked to at least 40 deaths in four years and subject to 10 warnings from coroners.

We are not naming it to ­prevent similar cases.

Neha was found dead at her lodgings in Guildford, Surrey, in April and her inquest ­recorded a verdict of suicide.

County coroner Anna Loxton this month contacted Health Secretary Therese Coffey to raise the issue. Her report was sent to Amazon US and to the manufacturer of the substance in Ontario, Canada. Ms Loxton said the chemical was “freely available to be purchased from the ­internet in lethal quantities for delivery within the UK”.

And she warned: “No protection is afforded to vulnerable people prior to them making such purchases.”

The coroner added: “In my opinion, action should be taken to prevent ­future deaths”.

Repeated calls have been made to regulate the sale of the substance but victims’ families say the Government’s slow response to the chemical which they say is being used as a ‘suicide drug’ is costing lives.

Catherine Nihill, whose son Joe, 23, took his life in 2020 after finding instructions on how to kill himself online, said: “It is two years since Joe’s inquest and still this is going on.

“How many lives have been lost in that time? We’ve asked for the Government to block sites selling this drug in the UK.

“Germany, Australia and Italy have – why haven’t we?”

Amazon is already facing a lawsuit in America from two ­families that lost their ­children to suicide.

The Department of Health and Social Care said: “Every suicide is a tragedy and we work with a range of experts to monitor and reduce access to means of suicide – including removing promotional material and providing clearer warnings of risk.

“Through the NHS Long Term Plan we will provide an additional £2.3 billion per year to mental health services by 2024 – giving two million more people the help they need – including investing £57 million so that all areas have suicide prevention plans to address the need of their populations.”

An Amazon spokesperson said: “We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones personally affected by suicide.

“Customer safety is a top priority at Amazon. We are committed to a safe shopping experience and require our selling partners to follow all applicable laws and regulations when listing items in our store.

“The substance in question is a legal and widely-available product offered by retailers to preserve foods, such as meats and fish, and for use in laboratories as a reagent.

“It is not intended for consumption, and unfortunately, like many products, it can be misused.”