Coroner stresses danger of cocaine use after death of young man while socialising

Coroner Stresses Danger Of Cocaine Use After Death Of Young Man While Socialising
David O'Grady (31) was found unresponsive on the floor after socialising at home with housemates, Dublin District Coroner's Court was told. Photo: PA
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Seán McCárthaigh

A coroner has warned that there is “no quality or quantity of cocaine that is safe ever” after the death of a young Dublin man from a drugs overdose while socialising at home with housemates two years ago.

Coroner Aisling Gannon made her remarks about the danger of consuming cocaine at an inquest into the death of David O’Grady at his home at Carraig Buí, Johnstown Road, Cabinteely, Co Dublin, on June 6th, 2022.


A sitting of Dublin District Coroner’s Court heard the 31-year-old sales account manager with a recruitment firm was found unresponsive on the floor of the bedroom of one of his housemates where he had fallen asleep the night before.

One of the housemates, Sorcha Deane, told the hearing that Mr O’Grady and her two other housemates had been drinking alcohol when she and a friend, Aoife McCabe, had gone out for lunch the previous day before returning at 4pm.

Ms Deane said the three men joined them in her bedroom at around 6pm where they all drank alcohol.

She recalled that Mr O’Grady originally seemed fine but that his condition seemed to change after he started going in and out of her room and began to slur his words and become unsteady.


The witness said she was aware that her housemate used to take “opiates and Xanax”.

Ms Deane said she had spoken previously to Mr O’Grady about his drug taking, and he had said he “wanted to go to rehab.”

I hoped he would get back on track.

She told the inquest that he fell asleep on the floor of her bedroom at around 11pm and was later snoring loudly and could not be woken.


Ms Deane said Mr O’Grady appeared quite still at some stage the following morning and did not seem to be moving.

She alerted her other housemates when Ms McCabe got no response when she tried to shake him.

Ms McCabe told the coroner that Mr O’Grady had appeared more drunk than anyone else in the house and was aware that he had taken tablets.

She recalled being woken by Ms Deane to say that something was wrong with their friend.


Another housemate, Nicholas Watts, said he was aware that Mr O’Grady, with whom he was friends since they attended Newpark Comprehensive School in Blackrock, had “an addiction issue”.

Mr Watts said, shortly before his death, his friend had for the first time mentioned his wish to go to rehab.

“I hoped he would get back on track,” he observed.

He recalled Mr O’Grady slumped to the ground while the group of friends were chatting but noted it had happened before, and he had placed his friend in the recovery position.


Mr Watts said he was subsequently woken by Ms Deane’s screaming over not being able to wake their housemate, and he helped to provide CPR until an ambulance crew arrived at the house.

“It was a complete shock. One of the worst days I ever experienced in my life,” he added.


Another housemate and former schoolmate of the deceased, Jamie McStay, recalled that everyone was a bit shocked when Mr O’Grady appeared to pass out.

Mr McStay said it was felt that their friend was OK when he started snoring after being put in the recovery position.

When he later responded to cries from his other housemate, he said he found Mr O’Grady was not breathing and his lips were blue.

Although Mr McStay said he was aware his friend used to take tablets, he added: “I did not think something like this would happen.”

Garda Darragh Hughes confirmed to the inquest that no foul play was suspected in relation to Mr O’Grady’s death.

The coroner noted that a 999 call to alert emergency services to attend the house had been made at 6.59am.

In response to questions by the deceased’s mother, Ann O’Grady, about packets of tablets found near her son’s body, Ms Gannon said they had probably been left there by paramedics who had sought information about what drugs he might have taken.

The deceased’s brother, Stephen O’Grady, gave evidence of being alerted by one of his brother’s friends via Facebook about what happened before travelling to Cabinteely to formally identify his brother’s body to gardaí.

Ms Gannon said a postmortem showed Mr O’Grady had died as a result of multi-drug toxicity with evidence of cocaine, diazepam, ketamine and alprazolam (Xanax) found in his body.

The coroner said it was not possible to state when exactly Mr O’Grady had taken the drugs and in what quantities but noted the postmortem found a “toxic” level of alprazolam.

She added: “There is no quality or quantity of cocaine that is safe, ever.”

Ms Gannon pointed out that cocaine was known to cause an irregular heartbeat in users.

The coroner said the deceased had also tested positive for Covid-19, which she assessed as being a contributory factor in his death.

Ms Gannon offered her sympathy to Mr O’Grady’s family on their “devastating loss” and noted that it was very difficult for his loved ones to hear about the events of his death and for his friends who were there at the time to relive the experience.

Returning a verdict of death by misadventure, the coroner said Mr O’Grady’s death was the unintended consequence of consuming drugs on the date in question.

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