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Painkiller overdose led to death of Grantham man, inquest hears

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A Grantham man died after a massive overdose of a painkiller for his chronic back pain.

Christopher John Robson collapsed and died at his home in Dale Road, with his mother present.

Two police officers administered CPR, but the 47-year-old died after 45 minutes' care and treatment by paramedics.

Inquest report (10996898)
Inquest report (10996898)

Father-of-two Mr Robson was on a monthly prescription of Tramadol but an inquest into this death held at Boston Coroner' Court today (Tuesday) heard that it was "never enough" and he always wanted more.

A large bag of the drug was found in his bedroom and it was suspected that he had bought it from the Netherlands for £343 shortly before his death on November 22, 2018.

A post mortem found there to have been 12,726 nanograms of Tramadol per millilitre of blood. Anything above 2,000 is considered potentially lethal.

There was also a trace of a new psychoactive substance (formerly known as a legal high) in his system. Mr Robson’s family believe this could have been included in the powder he bought.

The inquest heard that Mr Robson, who had a long history of recreational drug abuse, had had surgery on his back in 2011 and 2013. The problem was not resolved and he suffered significant side effects which led to the breakdown of his marriage.

He also suffered depression due to not being able to work.

In written evidence, Mr Robson’s mother said his mood had been low just prior to his death. On the night he died he had been in his room smoking more than normal and drinking litres of fluid.

“He had what appeared to white powder down the front of his T-shirt which he said was salt due to his sweating and he had changed his T-shirt about four times,” she said.

After she and her husband had gone to bed he was unusually noisy. Later a neighbour rang to complain that he was banging car doors outside.

His mother said: “He refused to talk to me about what was bothering him. I sat him in the chair to try and get him to talk to me. He started making a funny noise. He got up and I followed him into the bathroom. He was still making the funny noise.”

Soon Mr Robson was crawling on the floor and she called 999.

Area coroner for Lincolnshire Paul Smith concluded it was a drug-related death, adding: “It may well have been that his addiction [to Tramadol] was a by-product of the savage consequences of the surgery that he had.

"One can have nothing but sympathy for someone who has the kind of side effects described in this case."

** Anyone affected by drugs can call the Frank helpline on 0300 123 6600.

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