Belfast Telegraph

Tragic man 'entirely new' to heroin

A man who died from a heroin overdose may have been using the drug for the first time, an inquest has heard.

Gary Marno, 25, collapsed at a house in Bangor, Co Down, in February this year after taking the illicit substance with a friend who had just been released from prison. He paid £12.50 for the hit which killed him, said his friend, Stephen Davidson.

His sister, Jolene Marno, told the Belfast inquest he was vehemently against the drug.

"He was a healthy person, he liked to keep fit and look after his body, he just saw this as dirt, it would have been something that he was against," she said.

"It was a big shock."

Assistant state pathologist Dr Alistair Bentley said there were few signs of habitual heroin use such as numerous needle marks.

"I believe he probably would not have taken heroin recently. Someone that was using heroin regularly recently I would have expected ... a greater concentration of morphine than we have here."

He said the victim, a trainee chef from the Lakelands, Craigavon, may have been abstaining for a period of time and lost his level of tolerance or may not have taken it before.

With repeated use of opiate drugs such as heroin, tolerance is developed and higher doses can be withstood. In a person using the drug for the first time or one who has lost tolerance following a period of abstinence less of the narcotic can be taken, the pathologist added.

Mr Marno had also taken valium and codeine, which can exacerbate the effects of heroin in depressing the body's vital functions.

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