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Coroner's report finds Christchurch man died from synthetic cannabis use

A coroner’s report has found the death of Christchurch man Mark Anthony Norman in 2018 was due to synthetic cannabis use.

Source: 1 NEWS

The report states that Norman lost consciousness in his friend’s car on 26 May, 2018. He was then taken to the Emergency Department at Christchurch Hospital but was unresponsive upon arrival.

Resuscitation attempts were unsuccessful.

According to the report, “Norman suffered from schizophrenia, mild intellectual disability, anti-social personality disorder and polysubstance dependence.

“At the time of his death he was subject to a Community Treatment Order under section 29 of the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment Act) 2002 (the MHA). An inquiry into his death was therefore opened under section 60(1)(b) of the Coroners Act 2006.”

The doctor who performed a post-mortem examination of Norman, Dr Martin Sage, said sections of Norman’s lung showed pre-existing chronic bronchitis and mild emphysema.

Dr Sage’s post mortem led him to the conclusion that Norman died suddenly because, “of the current or recent use of the synthetic cannabinoid (5F-ADB), with pre-existing infective exacerbation of chronic obstructive respiratory disease, and coexisting Type II diabetes, chronic schizophrenia, and multiple prescription drugs. He described the manner of death as ‘natural causes complicated by recreational drug use.’”

The coroner agreed with these findings in the report released today.

“The evidence establishes that, in the period before his death, Mr Norman had used a synthetic cannabinoid for recreational purposes,” the report notes.

“Given that this contributed to his death, his death may be described as accidentally self-inflicted.”

The coroner warned about the use of synthetic cannabis, noting other coroners have previously commented on its dangers.