Inquest told Praze man died of lethal drug overdose
THE mother of a fisherman, who died after taking a lethal methadone overdose, is calling for medical jabs – that could have saved her son's life – to be more widely available.
David Walters' body was found by friends at his home in Praze on November 1 last year.
An inquest into his death last week was told the Newlyn trawlerman had a history of heroin abuse but had stopped injecting after he survived a previous overdose.
Mr Walters, 37, had been drinking and relaxing with flat-mates and appeared happy on the eve of his death.
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Cornwall Coroner, Emma Carlyon, was told that his friends had not seen him taking drugs and had heard him snoring loudly in an armchair into the early hours.
Giving evidence Detective Constable Julian Lewis, from Camborne police, said Mr Walters' body was discovered by tenants at the isolated farmhouse at around 11am the following morning.
He ruled out third party involvement and said they found no drug paraphernalia normally associated with drug abuse, but a bottle containing methadone liquid.
He told the court: "He was in debt and his lifestyle was unsettled. But there was no evidence that he intended to harm himself. It could be that he took the methadone surreptitiously to hide his use from the men in the house."
A toxicology report showed that Mr Walters had 591 milligrams of methadone per litre of blood.
Recording a verdict of accidental death the coroner said the opiate had affected his motor and respiratory function, which led to heavy snoring.
Sid Willet, the Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) drug related death prevention co-ordinator, described Mr Walters' death as a tragic accident.
The incident, he said, raised the need for greater awareness of its Naloxone Project – an injection that can reverse the effect of an opiate overdose.
"The injection comes in the form of a pen that can be kept around your neck and has already saved three lives in Cornwall and is administered around 21 times a month by emergency crews."
He said DAAT was heavily canvassing local organisations to fund and supply more of the jabs.
Speaking after the inquest, Mr Walters' mother, Lorraine Buffery, said her son had kept his drug abuse quiet, adding: "Parents (of children with a drug addiction) should be able to get the jabs that can be carried around their neck so that they can save lives."