The Coroner noted Murtagh had been arrested 24 times in relation to his addictions (Getty)

New Zealand’s lack of treatment facilities for addicts has been highlighted in the sad case of Maurice Murtagh.

Coroner Michael Robb’s findings into the death of the 20-year-old Rotorua man who died 10 days after he was found unconscious in a hotel car park in the city in May last year have been released.

Mr Robb found the long-term solvent huffer died from a brain injury following a cardiac arrest caused by drug and aerosol consumption.

The Coroner noted Murtagh had been arrested 24 times in relation to his addictions and was well known to police.

This led to him recommending police red flag frequently arrested addicts so they are referred to the appropriate agencies to get them urgently needed help.

He outlined how medical professionals, mental health and drug and alcohol counsellors had worked with Murtagh but because his addition issues were so severe he needed to go through medical detoxification before going into residential rehabilitation.

However, there wasn’t a bed available for him until a day after he was found unconscious, and that was too late to save him.

Mr Robb said the case highlighted that having beds available for both medical detoxification and residential rehabilitation without lengthy waiting lists was crucial.

“Had he (Murtagh) been able to undertake detoxification when he was in hospital on May 10 and 11 and then been able to transition straight into a residential rehabilitation programme, his chances of being alive today would have been significantly increased”

Murtagh died on June 3 after he was taken off life support.

Mr Robb commented the addict’s life story made very sad reading, outlining how he’d suffered abuse, used magic mushrooms from the age of seven and started to huff aerosols at 12.

Source: Newstalk ZB


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