A VULNERABLE teenager died after drinking a bottle of the prescription drug methadone – probably for the first time.
Sixteen-year-old Antony Sykes, who had also taken the tranquiliser diazepam, may have got the methadone from an addict who had picked it up on prescription from a chemist, the Wakefield hearing was told.
Police traced the methadone bottle to a chemist and spoke to several users but no one admitted supplying Antony, and two users claimed they had lost their methodone after collecting it.
Pc Catherine Berrington told the inquest that at the time of Antony's death, on February 21 this year, he was of no fixed abode and he had previously lived in a hostel, as well as with relatives in Featherstone and friends in South Kirkby, both West Yorkshire.
Antony's mother, Louise Tredgold, said she believed that events in her son's life had a damaging psychological effect on him. In February 1998 Antony's father died and separation and divorce in the family had also taken its toll.
"His mum believes the death of his father and witnessing other aspects of domestic life had quite a psychological effect on Tony. By the time he reached the age of seven there were behavioural changes.
"At school he was detached and withdrawn," said Pc Berrington.
Mrs Tredgold said that she re-married and her new partner enjoyed a good relationship with her son but it had deteriorated by the time her son was 13.
He was given counselling but "nothing appeared to have an effect on him" and he showed no respect for authority.
At 14 Antony was smoking cannabis and started taking amphetamines and diazepam. If confronted he would run away from home and go missing for days.
His problems worsened when he began to suffer hair loss and he began refusing to go to school.
In 2008 he went to live in Feathertone which was an attempt to get him away from "undesirables" in the drug-taking world.
Just before Christmas last year Antony was living in a hostel in Castleford but three weeks before his death he stole a mobile phone and a computer game from his sister's, which caused him to be banned from the house.
For the final three weeks of his life, Antony stayed at the homes of friends or his grandmother.
Mrs Tredgold, who was aware her son was abusing drugs, was told by him that "it gets my head out of it".
She said he had talked about taking his own life but had promised her that he would never carry it out.
At the time of his death, Antony was staying at the home of a friend in South Kirkby.
He told friends that he was feeling depressed and was "sick of life", the inquest heard.
Shortly before his death Antony produced a brown medicine bottle and drank the entire contents, according to friends. He then kept dozing off before
be woken by pals.
He was later found unconscious on a sofa.
A post mortem examination revealed that he died from inhaling stomach contents after vomiting.
West Yorkshire Coroner David Hinchliff said Antony had, in the course of the day, illegally obtained both methadone and diazepam, the combined effect of which had caused him to go into a deep sleep.
"I don't believe he took methadone because he wanted to kill himself – I don't believe he ever used it before."
Mr Hinchliff recorded a verdict that he died from the non-dependent abuse of drugs.