Something that many people fail to realise is that addiction is an illness of the brain. Many are actually of the opinion that those affected by drug addiction are somehow to blame for their situation. However, the reality is that those who do suffer from illnesses such as drug addiction are unable to control their urge to take the substance to which they are addicted.
Addiction cannot be cured, but it can be treated. While most of those who do undergo a programme of detox and rehabilitation will manage to get sober and stay sober, there is a large number who struggle to get clean. Some will return to their drug of choice time and time again, and some will eventually succumb to their illness.
A woman from Barrow lost her battle with drug addiction after struggling to overcome it for fourteen years. Rachel Rooney was just twenty-nine years old when she slipped into a coma and died in March 2016. She had taken a cocktail of drugs, which included heroin, diazepam and amphetamines.
Rooney’s boyfriend, Damien Starkie, had left her for just ten minutes in order to go to the local chemist to pick up a prescription on March 18th. When he returned to their home, he found her unconscious and her lips were blue. He called emergency services immediately and was given instructions by paramedics on how to administer CPR.
When paramedics arrived, they managed to resuscitate her, and she was taken to hospital. Sadly, nothing could be done to save her as her condition never improved; seven days later she passed away. Her mother Debbie said that Rachel had managed to beat an alcohol addiction and had been trying to beat her addiction to drugs.
Struggling to Overcome Addiction
Debbie said, â€œRachel wanted to turn herself around because she said she was sick of being stuck in the flat all the time. She was clean for two years until 2014 after coming out of prison. She was going to get her kids back, and she was doing really well. Up until she went into hospital I was only aware that she was taking cannabis.â€
This was not the first time Rooney had overdosed, but she had been in touch with an NHS-run addiction service in order to get help for her addiction. She had made initial contact with Unity on 2nd March and was due to have a follow-up appointment on 29thMarch. Sadly, she never made it to that meeting.
The coroner’s report stated that the cause of death was a hypoxic brain injury, which was drug-related. Coroner Paul O’Donnell said, ‘A cocktail or combination of drugs were found in Rachelâ€™s system. She confided in Unity that was she was using amphetamine daily and had taken heroin. She was also worried about unintentionally taking an overdose.’
Rooney was aware of the risk of overdose but because of her addiction to drugs, she had no control over the urge to take them. As with many heroin addicts, she risked overdose every time she took the drug, but the fact that she mixed heroin with other substances meant her risk was even higher.
The purity of heroin can change from one batch to the next and addicts are at the mercy of the person supplying the product. Many dealers will cut their heroin with other substances to make a bigger batch of product to sell, thus increasing their products. Some dealers have been known to use dangerous chemicals such as rat poison or horse tranquilisers, which can prove fatal.
Those who are used to a specific purity of heroin could easily suffer a fatal overdose if they take the same amount of purer heroin.
Source: Barrow drug addict died after taking a lethal cocktail of substances (North-West Evening Mail)