Mother died as result of 'misuse of drugs'

Dorset Echo: Mother died as result of 'misuse of drugs' Mother died as result of 'misuse of drugs'

A MOTHER-of-three who lived in Weymouth died as a result of a misuse of drugs, an inquest heard.

Rebecca Gaffney, 33, was found dead in her home in Sussex Road on October 14 last year by boyfriend Mark Steer.

He went to bed the previous evening at 2.30am, leaving her downstairs.

He found her the following morning in the same place but leaning forward and unresponsive. An ambulance was called and pronounced her dead upon arriving at the scene.

She was later found with a 50mcg fentanyl patch on her upper left arm.

A subsequent analysis of her blood and urine showed she died because of the toxic effect of it.

Det Sgt Stephen Broadhurst, who led the investigation into her death, said she had died of acute fentanyl toxicity.

Fentanyl is a Class A drug that can be used for pain relief.

Discussing the drug, Det Sgt Broadhurst said: “It is described as being hundred times more powerful than morphine.”

Ms Gaffney had been prescribed three fentanyl patches back in June, 2010.

Det Sgt Broadhurst said there was no indication provided as to how old the patch she used was.

Coroner Sheriff Payne said she must have put the patch on and left it there. He added that she had the option to remove it if she started to feel unwell.

He said: “The verdict that I have to consider therefore is that she has died as a consequence of a misuse of drugs.”

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