A FATHER with a history of substance misuse died from the toxic effects of an unlicensed drug thought to have been bought online.

Mark McFeeters was found dead at his flat on Fisher Street in Workington on August 3, 2023.

An inquest into his death heard the 29-year-old had previously lived in Essex but had relocated to live with his mother in Workington to try and get off drugs.

Mr McFeeters had worked at the Caspian restaurant in Workington and then Home Bargains, where he met his partner, Yasmin McFeeters and they went on to have a son together.

His mother, Joanna McFeeters, said he had ordered a substance from the internet a month before he died. He had been struggling to sleep, Cockermouth Coroners’ Court heard.

Mr McFeeters’ partner and mother had gone to his flat on August 4. They had made plans for him to go to the gym in the morning and they would pick him up afterwards to go and see his partner’s new house.

The door to his flat was locked and the lights were still on, despite it being daylight. Mr McFeeters’ partner could see him sitting up with his phone in his hand.

An ambulance was called but paramedics confirmed that Mr McFeeters had died.

Mr McFeeters’ GP said he had a history of addiction and was being treated with substitute medication to get him off heroin. He was getting non-prescribed medication as well.

A statement from the drug and alcohol service, Recovery Steps, said Mr McFeeters was drug screened on July 21 and this was positive for a benzodiazepine-based medication.

It was an non-prescribed medication, which could have been in the substance he had bought online, the inquest heard.

Mr McFeeters attended again on August 2 and a urine screen was positive for a benzodiazepine-based medication again.

A post-mortem toxicology report revealed Mr McFeeters had prescribed and non-prescribed medication in his system, including bromazolam, a ‘relatively novel’ benzodiazepine, which is not a licensed medication.

He had a potentially lethal dose of the substance in his blood.

The cause of death was given as aspiration of gastric content due to the toxic effects of bromazolam and potentially other drugs used.

Dr Nicholas Shaw, assistant coroner for Cumbria, found that Mr McFeeters’ death was due to the toxic effects of non-prescribed drugs and concluded that it was a drug-related death.

Turning to Mr McFeeters’ family, Dr Shaw said: “I’m very sorry. It’s a distressing case. I know you will never get over this but hopefully you will be able to rebuild your lives.”