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Mother, 57, dies after prescription medication overdose, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 16:54 26 September 2019 | UPDATED: 18:19 26 September 2019

The Coroners court for Suffolk. Picture: Archant

The Coroners court for Suffolk. Picture: Archant

Archant

"Unanswered questions" remain following the suicide of a 57-year-old Lowestoft woman, a coroner concluded at an inquest into her death.

Susan Smith died at her Lowestoft home on April 16 earlier this year after overdosing on prescription medication and drinking alcohol.

Leading the inquest, coroner Nigel Parsley said Mrs Smith had first reported problems with alcohol abuse in December 2015.

Mrs Smith had been prescribed medication after reporting her depression and problems with alcohol to her GP. She had also been referred to the community alcohol team three times.

However, the inquest heard how the mother-of-two had declined services offered to her despite efforts to reassure her as she felt her job would be at risk.

Mrs Smith worked in a doctor's surgery where people referred to the health and social care organisation Turning Point would attend.

The inquest heard that in 2015 Mrs Smith had told her GP she was on a self-detox from alcohol and that she did not wish to use the Turning Point service.

Mrs Smith's GP told the inquest that, at her last appointment in February 2019, she reported to be "doing okay and keeping positive", as well as avoiding all alcohol.

At the time of her death two months later, Mrs Smith was three times over the legal drink drive limit, and three times over the fatal level for one of her prescribed medication.

Coroner Nigel Parsley concluded that the cause of death was suicide.

Mr Parsley said: "This is one of those cases where I can see no trigger or tipping point. Even in GP referrals self harm is not mentioned.

"What we have to appreciate is Sue had access to a lethal quantity of prescription medication and, given her medical knowledge, she must have intended her death.

"Susan had a drink problem for a period of time which affected her metabolism and resulted in disease.

"She liked to keep fit by running but broke her pelvis and elbow in 2018 which gave her continuous pain and may have affected her mental health.

"There are still unanswered questions. We don't know what triggered this."

Mrs Smith is survived by two sisters, one brother, and her son and daughter.

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