Wigan drink and drug addict’s tragic final cocktail

A Wigan woman who battled addiction problems for years, died after downing a cocktail of drugs and alcohol, an inquest heard.

Tuesday, 10th September 2019, 9:34 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th September 2019, 10:34 am
Bolton Coroner's Court

Beverley Hodgson, 47, was found dead on the floor at her boyfriend’s home for reasons which remain unexplained, Bolton Coroner’s Court heard.

Paramedics attended the address on Medway Walk, Norley, in the early hours of April 17 but were unable to save her.

She had been seen asleep at around 1am that day, almost four hours before she was pronounced dead at 4.58am.

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The court heard from Addaction about two years of appointments and work to help her stay away from drink and drugs given her previous history of addiction.

However, a toxicology report found that at the time of her death she had nine different substances, both prescribed and illegal, in her system as well as high levels of alcohol.

The report concluded she had likely died from the combined toxic effects of heroin and two other drugs along with alcohol.

Coroner John Pollard said some of the exact circumstances around her death would remain mysterious, recording an open conclusion.

Mr Pollard said: “Beverley Hodgson was at the home of her boyfriend. She had been drinking and taken a number of prescribed and illicit drugs. This proved too much for her body to cope with.”

Pathologist Dr Stephen Wells said the level of drugs in her system were not particularly high but if she had not taken illicit substances for some time they could have had a stronger effect on her body.

The level of alcohol was high, at 172mg per 100ml of blood. The toxicologist suggested in the report that some of the substances could have combined to produce respiratory depression.

Addaction recovery co-ordinator John Satchell told of ups and downs in Ms Hodgson’s engagement with the service in the two years before she died, at some points attending appointments and presenting well, at others failing to turn up or return phone calls.

Gradually the amount of methadone she was prescribed was lowered and she spoke to Addaction staff of wanting to make positive changes in her life.

But in May she said she had been drinking wine for courage after receiving a court letter about a bedroom tax fine and at an unplanned appointment in August revealed she was consuming a full bottle four or five days per week.

That had increased by the time of an appointment in September and in late November Addaction staff warned her after she said she had been consuming alcohol with her new partner.

However, in January 2019 she was four weeks drug free, the methadone reduction was complete and she was described as doing very well, having found it hard at first.

In one of her final contacts with Addaction in February this year Ms Hodgson said she was concerned about some blood tests at her GP surgery due to having previously had hepatitis C and was talked through anxiety-related issues.

The court was told Ms Hodgson had a history of alcohol and heroin addiction and had previously overdosed in March 2013.