Measuring jug could have saved man who died from accidental overdose

The inquest into the death was held at Suffolk Coroner's Court in Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

A prevention of future deaths report has been issued after the death of Matthew Fitten - Credit: Archant

A simple measuring jug and some instructions could have saved the life of a man who died from an accidental overdose of prescribed medication, a report has said.

Matthew Fitten, from Haverhill, had been prescribed Methadone by the charity Turning Point to help address drug dependency problems.

The 43-year-old appeared to be fit, well and in good spirits when his family last saw him on April 15 last year.

Yet whereas he had been given the drug in daily dosage bottles three times a week, the Covid-19 pandemic meant he had to collect his prescription from Haverhill Pharmacy once every 14 days - and in larger doses than normal.

With no measuring jug or instructions on how to use the medication, Mr Fitten had no way of measuring the doses out.


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His body was found by his family on April 17 last year, two days after they had last seen him.

Analysis of Mr Fitten's blood found a toxic quantity of methadone in his system at the time of his death. 

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Raising concerns about Mr Fitten's case in a Prevention of Future Deaths report, Suffolk senior coroner Nigel Parsley said: "It is probable, that due to a lack of a measuring jug, Matthew guessed his first dose from the larger Methadone bottles with tragic consequences.

"Had Matthew been given daily dose bottles of Methadone as prescribed, or a measuring jug and instructions on how to use it had been provided, on a balance of probability basis his death would not have occurred."

An inquest into Mr Fitten's death, held in November, heard there was no evidence he was intending to take his own life. 

A spokesman for the General Pharmaceutical Council, which regulates pharmacies in the UK, said: "We can confirm we have received the coroner’s report and we are currently considering it."

Haverhill Pharmacy declined to comment. 

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