A RECOVERING drug addict died after taking too much methadone – a substance he was prescribed to wean him off heroin, an inquest heard.

Michael Bolton was found dead in a bedroom at his home on June 13.

The inquest in Burnley heard that Mr Bolton, 45, had last been seen the day before by his landlord who had described him as being extremely drunk.

Coroner Richard Taylor said Mr Bolton’s landlord had asked the other occupants of the house in Hollingreave Road, Burnley, if they could get Mr Bolton to contact him, but they checked his room and found him unconscious.

He was later pronounced dead by paramedics.

The inquest heard Mr Bolton had a history of alcohol dependency and heroin addiction, and he had been known to smoke two to three wraps of heroin a day.

Initial toxicology tests found that he had been suffering from acute liver failure due to his alcoholism, but a second examination discovered his blood also contained high levels of methadone and tranquiliser diazepam, enough to have killed him.

Mr Taylor said: “Mr Bolton’s underlying liver disease played a part in his death as due to this his body would’ve been less tolerant to the methadone than someone who didn’t have liver disease.”

Giving evidence, PC Craig Groom said that when he arrived at Mr Bolton’s house on June 13, there were needles present and also a sharps box which suggested a problem with persistent drug use.

The court heard how Mr Bolton had been prescribed methadone to help with his heroin addiction and had been using the services of drugs agency Inspire since 2011 but had been discharged in 2016 as he was deemed to be drug-free.

However, he later presented himself to Inspire on a further three occasions as it was believed he was having trouble managing his addiction.

Raising questions at the inquest, Mr Bolton’s family asked whether the process for supplying recovering addicts with methadone was safe enough.

Drug users have to present themselves to a pharmacy in order to be administered with their medication in front of a professional.

On a Friday when the chemists close, they would usually be given a three-day supply of their drug, enough to last them the weekend.

Mr Bolton’s relatives said: “Dispensing quantities of methadone across the counter is killing people.

"If a person has a problem with drugs, why would they be given three days’ worth of methadone to take home with them, which they could potentially take all at once, as that amount is enough for someone to overdose on?” the relatives added.

Mr Taylor said: “Mr Bolton was a long-term drug user and had been prescribed medication to try to help him from continuously using heroin, which seemed to be working. I cannot say whether he took all of his medication at once and I cannot say whether he went elsewhere for extra methadone or other substances.

“There was no evidence that he had heroin in his system, but there was an excess of methadone present, more than his body could handle.

“His liver was in a very poor condition and because of this he became more weakened and could not tolerate the mixture of methadone, diazepam and alcohol.”

Mr Taylor said there was no evidence to suggest he had deliberately taken the methadone overdose, and delivered a conclusion of misadventure.