Drug addict died after sleeping for three days

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A Burnley man who slept for three days after taking a large quantity of sleeping tablets, had several other drugs in his system when he died, an inquest has heard.

Karl Reyner (43), of Leyland Road, took the tablets on September 11th and slept all weekend before he stopped breathing on Monday, September 14th.

His partner, Beverley Cain, checked on him several times to find he was still breathing, and tried to wake him on the Sunday but was unsuccessful, although he was still alive at that time.

In the early hours of Monday morning she awoke to find his breathing had changed to deeper breaths, before waking again two hours later to find he was dead.

Dr Richard John Prescott, consultant at Royal Blackburn Hospital who conducted a post-mortem, said: “After I conducted the post-mortem I requested a toxicology report to identify any potential toxins in his system.

“The report found he had a number of drugs in his system including diazepam, which is likely to be from the sleeping tablets, methadone and traces of crack cocaine.”

The inquest heard how Mr Reyner had a history of drug use, and was not prescribed methadone at the time of his death, and had been prescribed a substitute.

Dr Prescott said that, due to the fact Mr Reyner had built up an intolerance to methadone over the years he does not believe the amount in his blood would have been the direct cause of death, but it would have certainly contributed.

The inquest was also told Mr Reyner had a recent history of epilepsy after first receiving a diagnosis in 2010, and was admitted to hospital after having fits in 2012 and 2014 but refused treatment.

Dr Prescott added: “The cause of death is likely to be pulmonary aspiration, which is when food particles enter the lungs, which in this case would be due to a reduced gag reflex from the methadone.”

East Lancashire Coroner Mr Richard Taylor said: “Sadly Mr Reyner was still using a lot of drugs and that’s clear from the toxicology report.

“He has used a variety of different drugs over a number of years and he was still using methadone at the time of his death despite not being prescribed it, and that contributed to his death.

“Therefore, the only conclusion I can draw is that of drug-related death.”