Man died from doses of 'liquid ecstasy'
A MAN who was found unresponsive the morning after drinking gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) mixed with a cola drink died from an “overwhelming” and “lethal” amount of the drug commonly known as “liquid ecstasy”.
Dermot Finnerty (38), Brackenwood Avenue, Balbriggan, Co Dublin, had a couple of friends over to his home for drinks on the evening of June 10th, 2009, and he drank GHB mixed with cola over the course of the night.
Paul Kelly told an inquest he awoke on a couch just after 9 on the morning of June 11th and noticed Mr Finnerty’s lips were blue and he “knew there was something wrong”. He called an ambulance after failing to wake his friend. He said he did not see him take the drug the previous night.
Seán Devoy told Dublin City Coroner’s Court that the three friends drank some cans together and later in the night Mr Finnerty, whom he called Davey, produced GHB. Both Mr Devoy and Mr Finnerty drank the drug mixed with cola. “Dermot drank a lot of it,” Mr Devoy said.
A postmortem found Mr Finnerty had a lethal level of GHB in his blood with 1,040 micrograms per millilitre of GHB.The lethal range is between 250 and 280 micrograms per millilitre.
There was also some alcohol in his system. “There is an overwhelming lethal dose of GHB present,” coroner Dr Brian Farrell said. “His death is due to an overwhelming amount of GHB.”
The inquest heard that GHB is known by a number of names on the street, including liquid ecstasy. It is not ecstasy, however, which is an amphetamine.
“It is a different drug, its effect is increased by alcohol or other depressant medication,” Dr Farrell said. “It causes coma, seizures and respiratory failure. It’s a potentially harmful drug. The level in Dermot’s blood is an overwhelming toxic level.”
The coroner recorded a verdict of death by misadventure.
Dr Farrell expressed his condolences to Mr Finnerty’s parents, who live in Carlisle and who attended the inquest yesterday, and to Mr Kelly and Mr Devoy.
The Irish Times - Friday, May 14, 2010