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Man died after consuming six times drink-drive limit

Man died after consuming six times drink-drive limit

Wednesday 11 July 2018

Man died after consuming six times drink-drive limit

A 36-year-old man, who was discovered dead in his hotel room, was found to have died from severe alcohol poisoning after drinking the equivalent of 34 single measures of spirits, an inquest has heard.

It found that David Ferguson died whilst staying in the Revere Hotel in Kensington Place, having consumed six times the legal driving limit for alcohol.

Mr Ferguson, who had a long history of drug and alcohol abuse, was found dead in his hotel room by a chambermaid on the morning of 4 November last year. In the room were four empty vodka bottles and an empty wine bottle.

A report by the States’ Official Analyst, Nick Hubbard, noted that Mr Ferguson had 480 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood, which, for a man of Mr Ferguson’s size and age would be the equivalent of 34 single measures of spirits.

The inquest also heard that Mr Ferguson had lost his father when he was only 11 years old and that he struggled to come to terms with his death. According to evidence from Mr Ferguson’s mother, read into the record by Assistant Police Coroner’s Officer PC Glenn Cleave, Mr Ferguson “took his father’s passing quite badly… It was very difficult to deal with.” 

Mr Ferguson’s mother’s statement added that “following his father’s death, he became very withdrawn” and it was as a teenager that he began dabbling in both cannabis and alcohol. 


Pictured: An inquest found that 36-year-old David Ferguson died from severe alcohol poisoning.

Mr Ferguson has since had many dealings with the Drug & Alcohol Service, having spent time in prison and doing community service as a result of his alcohol habit, as well as suffering seizures from withdrawal symptoms and being treated for a stomach ulcer in the months preceding his death.

In her statement, Mr Ferguson's mother wrote: "Even six months after his death, I still can't believe he's gone... I miss him every day."

Coroner Advocate Mark Harris, presiding over the inquest, expressed his condolences to Mr Ferguson’s mother, saying: “I wanted to say how very sad it was to hear about David’s struggle with drug and alcohol addiction over many years.” Mr Harris also commented on the tragic nature of Mr Ferguson having died at a “relatively young age”, concluding the inquest with the words, “I’m very sorry for your loss”.

The case follows Deputy Carina Alves's written question to the Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, which asked about the Drug & Alcohol Service's rates of rehabilitation. The Minister's answer to this question indicated that, since 2006, when the service first began recording data, 3,035 individuals have been supported by the Drugs & Alcohol Service and that between 2006 and July 2015, 65% of individuals who were discharged from the service have had no further dealings with it since which "may be considered as evidence of successful rehabilitation".

Jason Wyse, CEO of Silkworth Charity Group, which helps those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, told Express: "Chemical dependency is a serious illness and something that jurisdictions across the world are having to face and manage as best they can. 

"It is never nice to hear that someone's life has been taken due to the misuse of or the dependence to, alcohol or drugs as the ripple effect of this is felt through families, friends and significant others. The harsh reality is that anyone that is dependent on alcohol or drugs has to surrender and reach out for help because if they are not prepared to do it for themselves, it can't be done for them." 


Pictured: Jason Wyse, CEO of Silkworth Charity Group, said that it is up to those who are dependent on drugs or alcohol to "reach out for help" in order to beat their addiction.

Commenting on the services available to islanders who are struggling with addiction, Mr Wyse said: "In Jersey, we are blessed with services that can help people that are suffering with chemical dependency together with their families and significant others. We have collaborative working between first class treatment services being offered by Silkworth Charity Group and the statutory Drug & Alcohol Service. Services like this are being withdrawn in the UK, whereas here in Jersey there is investment in these areas with access to services being made straight forward with minimal waiting lists for those that want to access them... When I speak about what Jersey has to offer in this area, my UK counterparts are in envy because we are ahead of the game and always thinking of new dynamic ways to do things rather than being complacent."

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