Are Coroner’s Reports Inadequate?

According to the World Health Organization’s ‘Essential Drugs List” Diazepam (used for anxiety attacks amongst other uses) is a ‘core’ medicine. It used to go under the name of Valium for those of you who go back that far like me. It was a popular part of the illicit drug scene of the seventies. It’s ‘virtue’ is that it totally zonks you out. ‘Spacey’ was the word used to describe it from memory.

It is so addictive that in Dublin, Ireland there is a special centre to help people taking it. Diazepam is far more addictive than heroin. Most addicts can get off heroin in around 48 hours using the tried and true ‘cold turkey’ method. If you try to get off Diazepam that quickly you will die. The accepted wisdom is half the time you have been on it to get off it. Some of the side effects of Diazepam are convulsions, hallucinations, memory loss, trouble breathing, difficulty walking and trembling.

That is not even a medicine, let alone a ‘core’ medicine.

The point of this ramble is that I have just found out that there are no toxicology reports from a coroner that specify (or even look for) legal drugs in the body. When the coroner states that someone died from a drug overdose they mean street drugs, because that is all they are looking for.

The question that forms in my mind is: is that just bureaucratic stupidity, or deliberate evasiveness? If all the above is true and I am competently lead to believe that it is, then coroner’s need to lift their game and start doing full investigations, not just politically convenient investigations.

Does anyone out there have any info on this? Is it really true that coroner’s only look for illegal drugs when doing an autopsy? I still can’t quite believe it. How many people are really dying from psychiatric drugs?

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by ruth shepherd on April 13, 2008 at 3:46 am

    I hope you are not expecting Coroner’s to do a complete inquiry into a death. Unfortunately, in my experience, they find the cheapest and easiest way out and have NO commitment to finding THE TRUTH.


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