A RECOVERING addict died after buying a quantity of Class C drugs over the internet and mixing them with other prescribed medication, an inquest has found.
Matthew Handy, described as ‘very kind and loving’ by his family, was found dead by his partner Petra Harris in bed at his home in Manor Road, Uttoxeter, on November 24 last year at the age of 39.
His inquest at Burton Town Hall on Thursday heard that in the weeks before his death, Mr Handy, a recovering heroin addict, had searched the internet for drugs including the class C controlled drug diazepam.
After his sudden death, a tube of blue tablets was recovered from the home which were sent for analysis which revealed they were a quantity of the prescription-only drug diazepam.
The hearing heard that Mr Handy’s postmortem showed there was an amount of diazepam in his system that would be classed as a ‘therapeutic dose’ and not enough to be at overdose levels.
However, it was combined with other drugs which he had been prescribed by doctors, including the anti-depressant amitriptyline and methadone, which he had long taken as part of his successful battle to get off heroin.
Though none of the levels of the drugs on their own were felt enough to have killed Mr Handy, it was concluded that the cause of death was the combination of all the drugs together.
The inquest heard that Mr Handy had in the weeks before his death become very lethargic leading to him spending a lot of time sleeping and had occasions slurred his speech in conversations which had concerned his family.
It is now thought this was due to the diazepam.
Detective Sergeant Ian Fitzgerald, of Burton CID, led the investigation in to Mr Handy’s death and said part of that investigation was to see if they could identify the source of the drugs purchased from the internet.
He said: “Of concern to me was the purchase of drugs from the internet. We found one tube but we were unable to establish how many tablets he had taken prior to the discovery of that one tube.
“Unfortunately we were unable to identify the source of the drugs. It was evident that there is very little quality control on these websites for the items purchased.
“There was no evidence that the death was deliberate — there were no suicide notes. I am satisfied there was no evidence of any third party involvement.”
South Staffordshire Coroner Andrew Haigh concluded the death was categorically not suicide but said the likelihood was that Mr Handy’s death was caused by his ‘dependence on drugs.’
After the inquest Mr Handy’s mother June Timmis said: “Matthew was not a person who went out looking for drugs and did his best to get off them and worked very hard to beat it.
“He was a very kind and loving man and his life was within his home. We used to talk to him a lot about what was going on and tried to support him but unfortunately we couldn’t control what was going on.”