Parents warned to keep medication shut away after death of 15-year-old

Jade Pemberton, 15
Jade Pemberton, 15
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A coroner has issued a stark warning to parents over prescription drugs after a schoolgirl was killed by a fatal overdose.

Jade Pemberton, 15, was found dead by her father at the family home in Lytham Road, South Shore.

An inquest heard how Jade and a friend had been taking the drugs “just for fun” the day before when it is believed they may have swallowed 60 pills between them.

A pathologist who examined her body after she was discovered on the morning of November 13, 2012, found the youngster had lethal levels of painkiller tramadol and anti-depressant amitriptyline in her system.

Blackpool Coroner’s Court was told the drugs had been taken from a make-up bag in the bedroom of the friend’s mother.

Coroner Alan Wilson told Jade’s family: “Perhaps this serves as a reminder to adults to take particular care as to where they are storing medication and what may happen if young people have the opportunity to gain access to it.”

The hearing, attended by Jade’s parents David and Tracy as well as her sisters and grandparents, heard how Jade had been out with another teenage girl on the evening on November 12.

She returned home to her father’s later that night and went to sleep on the sofa.

Her father found her unresponsive the next morning.

The friend, who cannot be named for legal reasons, later told police she and Jade had taken a number of tramadol tablets, which her mother had been prescribed for back pain.

These were taken from a make-up bag which had been open in the friend’s mother’s bedroom.

It was estimated the friend took around 20 of the tablets while Jade took about 40.

Around 60 to 80 tablets were later found to be missing.

The friend was taken to hospital to be checked by medics but was later discharged.

The mother told the coroner all her children knew where these were kept as she would ask them to get them for her when needed, but added she now kept them locked away following the circumstances Jade’s tragic death.

The mother said: “I was totally shocked by what happened.

“I never thought anything of [where I kept the medication], now they’re locked away.”

The inquest was told Jade thad also visited a house during the day on November 12 while her friend waited around a corner.

She returned with what she described as “happy pills”.

In a statement given to police, the teenage friend said they were “knocking them back” and taking them “just for fun” but didn’t think they had taken so much they were going to die.

As the girls waited for a bus the friend said Jade tried to run in front of a vehicle but she pulled her back.

Then during the bus journey around the resort the friend said Jade fell asleep and when she awoke she was “pale” with “blue lips”.

Another teenage friend, who had been in contact with Jade that evening via text, told the hearing the 15-year-old had told her she had “taken an overdose” and felt as if she might “pass out”.

Coroner Wilson was told Jade had previously visited her GP and been referred to the children and adult mental health service after admitting to self-harming and feeling angry at times.

The teen had been struggling after her boyfriend was sent to prison and she was also due in court.

But the coroner ruled yesterday Jade’s death was not suicide.

He said: “Jade voluntarily ingested a large quantity of medication. A toxicology report found the combined effect proved fatal.”

He added: “Jade intended to take the tablets but she did not intend to die as a result of that.”

The coroner delivered a verdict of misadventure.

Her family were reassured the death would have been painless.

For help on issues surrounding drug abuse or mental health issues, telephone CAMHS (children and adult mental health service) on 01253 951700 or 07920 807021.

Young people wanting to talk about drug problems can contact The Hub on 01253 476010

Adults, families and carers can call 01253 311431.