A ‘MUCH-loved’ son and brother with a history of mental health issues died after taking a large quantity of codeine, an inquest heard.

Matthew Paul Vernon, 33, was found dead at his home in Hope Street, Blackburn, on August 27 last year.

The inquest heard the cause of death was ‘respiratory depression’ caused by the large amount of codeine in Mr Vernon’s system.

Pathologist Dr Deepa Jacob said Mr Vernon was found with 2.13 mg of codeine in his system along with small quantities of other prescription drugs, and concluded the death was caused by a codeine overdose.

The inquest heard police were called to the scene where a number of empty blister packs of codeine were discovered in a bin in Mr Vernon’s room, without the external packaging.

Detective Constable Charlotte Needle said the external packaging had been discovered in a bin at Mr Vernon’s sister Samantha Vernon’s house.

She said the medication had been prescribed to a friend who said Mr Vernon had asked her for pain relief medication, but denied willingly supplying him with the codeine.

The inquest heard that Mr Vernon, who was taking several prescribed medications, was in the process of being weaned off Tramadol by his GP following an injury which had left him unable to work.

He had been living in housing managed by Midway Support Services, which provides support for people with mental health diagnosis.

Mental health social worker Samantha Moor said Mr Vernon had a history of alcohol abuse and self-harm, but had seemed happier since moving to the supported living facility.

She said: “He seemed to flourish at Midway.

“He was much more settled and happy, he was very future orientated and seemed stable.

“He had a problem with alcohol an certain triggers would set him off but he was getting it under control.”

Blackburn Coroner’s Court senior coroner Richard Taylor recorded a verdict of misadventure.

He said: “Matt died on August 27 having ingested an excess of non-prescribed medication.

“As far as I’m concerned, Matt was a man with a lot of troubles but there is no evidence that he intended to take his own life.

“This is a young man who has taken medication that he was not prescribed, I can’t say where he got it from, but for whatever reason he has got it and taken it.

“That is a deliberate act, but there is insufficient evidence to say he did it with the intention of taking his life.

“I will return the verdict of death by misadventure.”

Mr Vernon’s sister Samantha Vernon said she was glad the death was not returned as suicide.

She said: “He was a good lad, he would have done anything for anyone.”

“He had so much to look forward to, I’m glad the coroner knew he wouldn’t kill himself.

“He was much loved, things are not the same without him, I love him and I miss him and I hope we can be together one day.”

The inquest heard how Mr Vernon, who had a history of alcoholism and self harm, had been found by support worker Laura Mallon.

Ms Mallon told the inquest she had let herself in to Mr Vernon’s room after he had not come down for his medication at 9am.

Mr Vernon’s sister told the inquest her brother suffered from mental health issues but was ‘positive’ and looking forward to the future’