They were two little boys, loved and loving, sharing the same kind of hopes and dreams.
Jamie Murray and Miles Briggs went to school together, played together, and sneaked their first cigarette in the park together where the teenagers of Bankfoot, in rural Perthshire, hung out.
Their fathers worked in forestry, their families knew each other well, and both had their whole lives ahead of them.
One would go to university, and enjoy a successful business career before becoming an MSP. The other would be drawn into an addiction which would end his life before the age of just 40.
As the first minister admitted that Scotland’s drug toll is a national disgrace and ordered urgent action, MSP Miles Briggs has spoken of Jamie and why his death – and the hundreds of others inflicted by drugs and endured by bereaved families – must be much more than just another statistic.
Miles said: “We laughed at the same silly jokes, played the same daft games and I was never out of Jamie’s house when we were growing up.
“His younger brother was one of my best friends, and Jamie’s family was so like mine. I was just one of them, another child with no worries about the future growing up in a beautiful village where everyone knew each other and crime was virtually unknown.
“That is why I cannot accept Jamie’s death as just another statistic in Scotland’s horrific drug death toll.
“Jamie was like my big brother. We had the same chances, the same upbringing, he was in the year above me at Perth Grammar. I could have been Jamie and he could have been me.
“We need to do something radical to ensure more lives like Jamie’s are not lost to us.”
Jamie’s mum Jane still cannot get through a day without weeping for the loss of her eldest son. Before he took his first smoke of cannabis at the age of 15, Jamie was full of love, laughter, and hope.
Jane said: “He was the bonniest baby and the sweetest, most loving little boy any mum could wish for.
“We were very close, and growing up in this village, his father Peter and I never thought for a minute he would be taken from us this way.
“Jamie did all the usual things boys did, he was an Army Cadet, he loved the rough and tumble of football.
“Jamie and Miles had everything in common. My son was clever. Just like Miles, my Jamie should have had the world at his feet.
“But drugs came into his life and no matter how hard he fought or how much we tried to help him, and nobody could have tried harder to prevent this awful tragedy, drugs took our beautiful boy from us.”
Jamie was found dead in a flat in Perth on September 1 last year.
His mother said: “I still don’t know who was with him, I don’t know why he wasn’t at his own home, and I don’t know if someone gave him the drugs that killed him or whether they will ever be held to account.
“Our family has been torn apart and I’m drowning in tears of anger, regret and frustration.
“From the day Jamie took that first puff of dope, he was all but lost to us. It took years to lose him. But it all started that day.”
Jane said that as Jamie became ever more addicted to drugs, his family did not know who to turn to.
“Jamie’s personality changed and eventually he could not function and hold down a job working alongside his father,” she said.
“We tried everything, but nothing could get through to him.
“The lowest point came when I went to wake him up and found him trying to shoot up heroin in his bedroom.
“We were horrified, and to shock him, we threw him out, hoping it would bring him to his senses.
“That’s how naive we were to the pull drugs has on an addict.
“We saw him walking the streets a couple of days later, soaking wet and freezing cold.
“Of course, we took him home.”
Jane says Jamie’s life was a round of social workers, police, her son living from one drug purchase to the next, sometimes, to her horror, even shoplifting to fund his habit, all the while despising himself for not having the strength to break away from the world he found himself in.
The Scottish Government has pledged an additional £250 million over the next five years to improve services for people affected by drug addiction.
It came following the publication of statistics which showed there were 1,264 drug-related deaths in Scotland in 2019.