Parents of Sunderland teenager who died after prescription drugs overdose make plea to others over dangers

Jack Bradbury, who died following an overdose in March 2017.
Jack Bradbury, who died following an overdose in March 2017.

The devastated parents of a Sunderland teenager who died after overdosing have today warned other families to be aware of the dangers of youngsters taking drugs prescribed for other people.

Pennywell lad Jack Bradbury was just 17 when he died in March this year.

Jack Bradbury, who died following an overdose in March 2017.

Jack Bradbury, who died following an overdose in March 2017.

Popular Jack had taken a number of substances, some illegal, on the evening before he passed away, but an inquest hearing into his death heard that he had a “potentially lethal level” of the liquid form of morphine, Oramorph, which is used for pain relief, in his system.

A police investigation to find out who supplied the morphine concluded with a 20-year-old man being sentenced at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court earlier this month after he pleaded guilty to the theft and supply of liquid morphine.

He was made the subject of a community order, fined £85 and also ordered to pay costs of £85.

Jack’s parents Carl and Carol have said that although they knew Jack had used some drugs in the past, they were not aware that he would take something as dangerous and they have called for a reclassification of the medication.

Sunderland's Coroner's Court.

Sunderland's Coroner's Court.

“We feel that the classification of this drug is too low,” said Mr Bradbury, 46.

“We knew that Jack had used cannabis in the past, but he was trying to pack in.

“The Oramorph, it is just too easy for it to get into the wrong hands.

“It’s easy to point a finger at the person found guilty of supplying the drug, but we just want to know the truth really.

“It’s more comforting because we will spend our lives guessing.”

Jack had been in out and of his Pennywell Road home the night before he died, spending time with friends, before coming in at about 10pm.

Mr Bradbury, who works as a joiner, added: “His snoring woke me up at 4am but I didn’t think anything of it.

“I got up for work at about 5am and then left about 6.20am.

“I thought he was just having a good night’s sleep, but the next thing I knew I was getting a phone call at 7.45am from Carol to say he wasn’t breathing.

“I got home as quick as I could and was hoping and praying that there wouldn’t be an ambulance outside, but there was.

“The paramedics were carrying him out when I got there.”

Jack was sadly pronounced dead at Sunderland Royal Hospital on the morning of March 7.

Home Office pathologist Jennifer Bolton carried out a post-mortem examination following his death, from which toxicology analysis revealed that Jack had 272 microgrammes of liquid morphine in 100 millilitres of his blood, which was described as a “potentially lethal level”.

Assistant coroner Karin Welch added that other substances discovered included ecstasy, cannabis, diazepam and alcohol and summed up that he died due to an overdose.

She added: “Having considered all of the evidence my conclusion is that Jack’s death was sadly drug-related.”

Mr Bradbury added: “You think about what happened constantly and people have to realise how powerful these prescription drugs are.

“We want people to understand the danger that they can do.”

Since leaving Academy 360 in Pennywell, Jack had been on a plumbing course but that hadn’t worked out.

“He was going to fly out to Ibiza just a few weeks later to take a job there,” said Mr Bradbury, also dad to Jack’s brother Carl, 20.

“We’d paid for the flights and accommodation for him and helped sort his passport.

“He was really looking forward to getting away from the same old cycle.
“But we feel that people dragged him down and he never got to go.”

The funeral of Jack, whose interests included music, took place at St Thomas’s Church in Pennywell.

“The church was crammed,” added Mr Bradbury.

“There was loads of people who couldn’t get in, but it was a lovely service.

“Jack had friends all over the place.”