A CORONER said the number of young people dying from cocaine use has reached ‘epidemic proportion’.

Michael Singleton, the senior corner for Blackburn, Hyndburn and Ribble Valley, made the comments at the inquest of a 33-year-old painter and decorator who died after overdosing on the class A drug.

The inquest heard Adam Cowell, of Holly Street, Oswaldtwistle, had collapsed at his home in November.

The 33-year-old had suffered from mental health issues and was on medicine to treat it., the coroner was told.

Mr Cowell’s father, Anthony, speaking at the hearing in Blackburn said his son was upstairs when he heard him fall.

Anthony said: “Everything was fine, he was his normal chirpy self.

“We were laughing and joking like we always do.

“I heard a thud and asked his brother to go upstairs and check to see what had happened.

“He started fitting several times, he was not breathing properly.”

Adam was taken to the Royal Blackburn Hospital by paramedics where he died.

The inquest heard Adam used cocaine to treat his anxiety.

A post mortem examination was carried out by Dr Richard Prescott, consultant pathologist at the hospital, who said the medical cause of death was cocaine toxicity.

He said: "At the time of post mortem there was 8.4 micrograms of cocaine per millilitre of blood.

“That is very high, anything over one is potentially fatal.”

Mr Singleton recorded a verdict of drug related death.

He said: “I have become increasingly concerned with the number of young people who are dying from cocaine toxicity.

“This is reaching epidemic proportion.

“If they all died at the same time it would not be major news, but international news.

“These are what I call silent deaths.

“I have been doing this job for 25 years and this has reached phenomenal levels.

“We will go through what we have gone through because people continue to pedal this filth.

“It is not the natural order to bury your child.

“I offer my sincerest condolences to you and your family.”