Warton dad died of deadly drugs cocktail on day he was supposed to seek help for his addiction

A Warton father of two choked on his own vomit after taking a deadly cocktail of illegal and prescription drugs just a few days before he was supposed to seek help in a private hospital.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th March 2021, 7:22 am

Josh Kelly, 24, stayed up 'all night' taking morphine, cocaine, painkillers and anti-depressants at his Norseman Avenue home on October 17.

He went to bed at around 7am the next day and was checked on throughout the day by his girlfriend, Gemma McDermott. She found him unresponsive at 11pm, called 999 and attempted CPR.

At Mr Kelly's inquest at Blackpool town hall on Tuesday, coroner Alan Wilson said: "Paramedics arrived at the address and found him in cardiac arrest. He had taken an unknown amount of non-prescription medication.

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Mr Kelly's inquest at Blackpool town hall on Tuesday, March 3

"Josh was taken to the hospital and arrived in A&E unresponsive. His pupils were fixed and dilated. CPR continued until on consultant in conjunction with other medics felt that treatment was not going to be successful, and Josh passed away."

The court heard that Mr Kelly, who had a history of depression and anxiety, was a self-confessed addict who used drugs to self-medicate. He had been in contact with mental health services in the past when he was not under the influence, but stopped communicating with them after relapsing into substance misuse.

Ms McDermott, who was worried about Mr Kelly's addiction, told the court she had spoken to him about it and that he had agreed to seek help at the Spire hospital in Blackpool on Monday, October 19 - the day he died.

A post-mortem revealed an mount of morphine in his system that was 'in the range associated with fatalities'. There was evidence of cocaine use, and extremely high levels of an epilepsy drug also used as a painkiller for back problems. Anti-depressant medication within a therapeutic range was also found.

Dr Mark Sissons, pathologist at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, said: "When I examined the lungs there was evidence of aspiration. There was obvious gastric content materiel which had obviously been inhaled and caused severe damage to the lungs.

"It’s a very commonly seen cause of death in people who have died from a drug overdose."

Handing down a conclusion of a drugs-related death, Mr Wilson said: "As a combination of the medication and the drugs that (Mr Kelly) had taken, that has resulted in aspiration pneumonia and that has proved fatal, as it often does.

"This was someone who did suffer from an excessive curvature of the spine that can cause pain. His medication situation was somewhat complex. He had been prescribed epilepsy medication which recently he had not been taking because it made him feel unwell in conjunction with other drugs that he was taking, but he was taking some other epilepsy medication that was not prescribed. He was also taking cocaine.

"He may have inadvertently taken more medication than he had planned or intended."