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Drug user died from choking on vomit

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 19, 2013

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A DRUG user who died after choking on vomit may have taken heroin, an inquest was told.

Steve Parton, 42, was found dead at his home in North Street, Burton, on October 5 2012.

The inquest, sitting at Burton Town Hall was told Mr Parton had relapsed after completing a detoxification programme.

A toxicology report revealed traces of cannabis, opiates, alcohol and small levels of therapeutic medication in Mr Parton’s system.

Mr Parton, who had a history of drug use and psychiatric problems, had been receiving help from mental health trust services since May 2011.

The inquest was read a report from the trust which said Mr Parton appeared to be doing well before his death.

Giving evidence at the inquest, Dr Peter Acland, who conducted the post mortem examination, said it was ‘likely’ Mr Parton had taken heroin on the day on his death.

Dr Acland said: “He had chocked on his own vomit.

“You don’t do that if you are fully conscious because of the gag reflex.

“But if you are unconscious or affected heavily by drugs or alcohol it can happen.”

“Morphine makes some people sick – it seems he died close to the time after taking it.

“But in this context it seems more likely to be heroin than morphine.”

Dr Acland added that Mr Parton could have taken a too high of a dose of heroin after a period of abstinence.

He said: “It is suggested he has gone for a period when he was not on it then remembered what he used to take thinking he can still manage it, but he couldn’t.”

Sergeant Matthew Hall, of Staffordshire Police, said no evidence of drug taking had been found when police searched Mr Parton’s home.

South Staffordshire coroner, Andrew Haigh, recorded a verdict of death by non-dependent use of drugs.

He said: “Steve had a sad history of drugs, self harm and illness.

“When he was well he was a pleasant and polite man.”

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