A DRUG addict who fought hard to tackle his demons died of a heroin overdose after slipping back into old habits.
David Thomas was 45-years-old when his body was discovered face down in his first-floor Brodrick Road flat back on May 9 last year.
An inquest into his death at Eastbourne Magistrates Court heard police found a used syringe nearby, as well as a spoon with a filter on it and a bag containing drugs.
A piece of tin foil which had been burnt was also uncovered in the kitchen. All of these pieces are commonly used in cooking up heroin ready for injection.
The coroner was told by Mr Thomas’s social worker and community nurse that he had managed to stay off drugs for a period of time, including a two-week spell in a rehab and detox clinic.
That rehab was cut short when Mr Thomas was asked to leave following a non drug-related incident.
And the general consensus coming from the experts was that Mr Thomas, who was believed to have started taking drugs after a bad motorcycle accident left him brain damaged, died because when he did relapse and inject heroin he took a similar amount to what he was on prior to rehab.
This proved fatal because his body’s tolerance had significantly lowered having gone without the drug for a spell – something all too common according to coroner Alan Craze.
Addressing Mr Thomas’s brother Stephen and father Wes, Mr Craze said his death was clearly a result of taking heroin.
He said, “The phrase you get in the newspapers is that so and so is battling with drug addiction and that is what he (Mr Thomas) has done.
“He has battled and lost. Heroin is such a powerful drug.
“At some stage in his career this was going to happen.
“Heroin is such a dangerous and addictive drug.
“People may well try it as an experiment but soon they know it is dangerous and that they are playing Russian roulette with their lives.
“This death will become another statistic that should show how dangerous it is.”
Speaking after the inquest, Stephen Thomas paid tribute to the effort his brother had put into trying to turn his chaotic life around.
He said, “David was a much loved and loving family man who is greatly missed.
“He was trying hard to make a fresh start after a difficult few years following his accident and had started to attend a local church.
“He made valiant strides in overcoming his addiction and spent time in rehab.
“His death is a tragic mistake due to lowered tolerance following rehabilitation.
“David found a positive experience in a local church and his faith in God enabled him to reduce his drug use to zero.
“To enter rehab, we, as his family, were and are very proud of his success in this.”