Addict started to use heroin at 12
A HEROIN addict who had abused the drug since he was 12 was found dead in his front room.
Antony Carroll started smoking it when he was just 12 and began injecting at 16. He had also been put on the heroin substitute methadone aged 14.
His inquest yesterday was told the 33-year-old, of Longton, had been clear of heroin for 14 months before his death.
But after not seeing him for two weeks, Mr Carroll's family became concerned and called police, who broke into his flat and found his body in an armchair.
His mother Eileen Boardman told North Staffordshire Coroner's Court her son was trying to beat his addiction at the time of his death.
She said: "He was trying to cut down a bit and he had enrolled on a methadone programme."
The inquest heard Mr Carroll's aunt Maureen Haidar called the police after visiting his first-floor flat in Kendrick Street on June 30.
She said: "I am aware in the past that he had abused drugs, but the last time I saw him he seemed to be fine.
"I visited his flat but there was no answer at the door."
The body of Mr Carroll was found by officers in his front room after they forced entry to his flat.
He was sat in an armchair with the television still turned on.
PC Matthew Savage, who attended the scene, said: "I spoke to some family members who had congregated outside the house and established that he had not been seen for some time.
"When walking up the stairs there was a smell consistent with death and we found Mr Carroll in the living room.
"We believe the body had been there for some time as there was mouldy food found in the kitchen."
During a post-mortem examination, pathologist Dr Daniel Gey Van Pittius found traces of methadone and benzodiazepines.
He said: "The concentration of methadone is relatively high, but it could indicate chronic therapeutic use, or an overdose prior to death.
"It depends on the degree of tolerance by the deceased."
The court heard that Mr Carroll had been enrolled with a drug rehabilitation service since 2009 and had successfully managed to come off heroin for the 14 months leading up to his death.
Dr Joby Scaria, a clinician at the crime reductions initiative, told of Mr Carroll's struggle with the highly addictive drug.
He said: "It was obvious that he had heroin addiction problems, as he had been smoking it from the early age of 12.
"He had started on methadone at the age of 14.
"Mr Carroll was doing quite well and his drug dependency had gone down."
The unemployed former fairground worker was on a weekly supply of methadone and had been prescribed diazepam by his GP.
A cause of death was given as methadone and diazepam toxicity. Mr Carroll was also suffering from a blood clot on his lung.
Summing up, coroner Ian Smith said: "He was not a well man and he hadn't been a friend to his body over the years.
"I don't think that the methadone would be of a sufficient amount to cause his death and rather it is a combination of factors.
"The diazepam would have added to the toxicity of the methadone." Mr Smith recorded a verdict of misadventure.