A Cromwell man found dead in a bathroom in 2010 died of an accidental overdose after injecting a concoction of pills, stolen from his former partner's mother, not designed to be injected, Otago Southland coroner David Crerar has found.
Dale Lenard Smitheram was found at 9.45am on October 31 lying in a foetal position clutching a syringe with a needle attached and next to a spoon with the painkiller oxycodone (a mix of Oxycontin and Oxynorm) on it.
Mr Smitheram had been staying at his former partner Kaylene O'Brien's house and the day before his body was found had been drinking and smoking cannabis with friends at a reserve near Lake Dunstan, in Cromwell.
Mr Smitheram returned home from the reserve at about 7.30pm and spoke with Miss O'Brien, who said he did not appear overly intoxicated.
The next morning she awoke to find the bathroom door locked.
She peered through the bathroom window from outside the house and saw Mr Smitheram lying on the floor near blood.
After raising the alarm with a neighbour, they kicked the bathroom door down and called police.
A tab of 10 oxycontin 40mg tablets, with four missing, and cannabis were found next to a bag of drug paraphernalia including a tourniquet, syringe, needles and another spoon.
Miss O'Brien's mother had been prescribed Oxycontin and Oxynorm tablets and after checking where she had left the medication, found the pills were missing.
A toxicology report found that at the time of his death Mr Smitheram had 66mg of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, diazepam (prescribed for short-term anxiety relief) and oxycodone in his system.
In his findings, Mr Crerar said there was no evidence that pointed to the death being suicide, and found Mr Smitheram, while adversely affected by alcohol and cannabis, prepared a solution and injected it into his bloodstream "without recognising the likely fatal effects of the combination of the drugs".
Death was probably caused by injecting the drugs, which were not designed for that purpose, Mr Crerar said.
Mr Smitheram was a known drug user but was considered to be in "good spirits" and was enrolled in a rehabilitation programme before his death. Conversations with friends left them believing he was preparing to become drug-free.
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