A computer technician died after taking lethal doses of a legal morphine-like drug he had bought freely over the internet.
Jason Nock, 41, from Birmingham, had almost five times the usual fatal quantity of synthetic drug AH-7921 in his system when his body was discovered by partner Lea Maninang at their home in Cradley, Heath.
The tragedy has led shocked Black Country coroner Robin Balmain to vow to approach the Home Office asking whether the substance should be outlawed, the Birmingham Mail reports.
Miss Maninang, who had a daughter, Jemima, now aged one, with Mr Nock, told an inquest at Dudley Coroner's Court: “He ordered it from the internet and they delivered it. I just found out about him taking these drugs when I moved in with him [in 2012].
“Just lately before he died he was saying it helped with his sleeping.”
She revealed that Mr Nock, her partner of seven years, had struggled with insomnia, but added he was not addicted to the drug.
“Sometimes he took it, sometimes he didn’t,” Miss Maninang told the court.
Mr Nock was pronounced dead at Russells Hall Hospital on August 17 last year.
Dr Sixto Batitang, consultant pathologist at the hospital said an overdose of the drug, not presently controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act, had killed Mr Nock. Tests showed he had 4.46mg per litre of blood in his system, almost five times more than the usual fatal dose of between 0.81 and 0.99mg.
Dr Batitang said AH7921 was similar to morphine in its action and potency. “The possibility of toxicity from this drug is really very high,” he added.
Concluding that death was accidental, Mr Balmain said: “This is tragic. It seems to me the problem with drugs that are not prescribed by a doctor and obtained through a pharmacist is that you don’t know what they are and, perhaps more importantly, you don’t know how many to take and how regularly to take them before problems occur.
“I also propose to write to the Home Office about this case. I’m aware that obtaining drugs other than via prescription is very easy these days.
"It’s possible to obtain all sorts of substances via the internet. Even though it’s a big problem, I think it’s necessary that people like me do draw to the attention of the Home Office what the problems are, to see if anything can be done. Consideration might be given to making it illegal which it isn’t at the moment.”
By Steve Bradley
January 9, 2014
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Man Dies From Synthetic Opiate Overdose (AH-7921)