Man Dies Of Heart Failure After 10 Years Of Cocaine Use 'To Juggle Two Jobs'

A man has died from heart failure at the age of 35, having taken cocaine for 10 years in order to help him juggle two jobs.

Jake Scicluna would snort the drug as a means of staying awake after he got home from his job as a doorman, while he was also working hard setting up a tattoo parlour.

Last November Jake collapsed at his home in Bredbury, Stockport, Greater Manchester, suffering from severe breathing difficulties.

Paramedics attempted to treat him, but he eventually died the following moring in hospital.

Tests showed he had 'recreational'' levels of cocaine in his system, which was enough to trigger a fatal cardiac arrest.

Jake's mother, Susan, has since warned that cocaine is 'the worst drug ever'.

Jake with his mother, Susan. Credit: Cavendish Press
Jake with his mother, Susan. Credit: Cavendish Press

At an inquest in Stockport, the hearing was told that regular gym-goer Jake had started taking the cocaine ten years ago, after taking out a large mortgage on the house he shared with his partner at the time.

Susan added: ''He started doing door work at night because he had taken on a big mortgage and the cocaine kept him awake. When he opened the tattoo shop four or five years ago he felt good in himself.

"He would be happy that he had a full week booked in at the tattoo shop, but was sad when people wouldn't turn up. A lot of it was to do with his worries when people would let him down.

"He was on and off cocaine for ten years and at first I tried not to believe it. He never talked about how much he used it but the vessels in his nostril were damaged and he was constantly blowing his nose and he started having heart palpitations.

"He used to come to my house for breakfast and tea and I could tell that his breathing was shallow and in the few months before he died, he seemed low. He said 'Don't worry mum, we will sort it out', but he lost a lot of weight before his death.

"He never cooked at home, he just had takeaways.

''He had a wet-suit material mask to help control his breathing but he had a horrible cough. In his head it was building up to something serious. He was reluctant to go anywhere. He would not go to counselling.'''

Credit: Cavendish Press
Credit: Cavendish Press

After much persuasion from his family, Jake eventually went see his GP and a nurse about his breathing difficulties - but didn't admit to his cocaine use.

Toxicologist Julie Evans told the hearing: ''Cocaine was present at a recreational level - but there was no large overdose. Cocaine can have an adverse effect on the hearts rhythm. It can lead to strokes and seizures.

''The recreational use of cocaine could have contributed to the cardiac arrest. As it is a stimulant, it increases the rate of the heart. You can get changes in the way that the heart is beating. You can get high blood pressure. It can cause anxiety and depression.

''They can have a cardiac event. You can have someone who has taken it for years and they suddenly have a cardiac event."

Recording a verdict of drug related death, Coroner Alison Mutch added that this was a 'tragic case'.

"It was clear Jake was very fortunate to have a loving and supportive family who did everything that they could to try and support him," Mutch said.

''At times that has been very difficult and has been a lot of pressure, but you were always there for him,'' She told Jake's mother.

"You had been worried about his health and his cocaine use and you tried to help him over the years.

''But one of the reasons he used cocaine was to help with the pressure of work and life. When he was trying to juggle a day and evening job, he used cocaine to help cope. He was quite keen to build a business and had bought a tattoo shop.

"But he had been using cocaine for at least ten years and he was using it on a regular basis - at least three times a week, and possibly daily. One of the dangers of cocaine is that it can have a significant impact on the heart. Its not always appreciated how dramatic.

"The cocaine had started to cause a significant amount of damage to the heart and its ability to function properly. It is clear that as a family you wanted him to seek medical advice but its clear as an adult he had to make his own decisions and you could only seek to persuade him.

"The problem with cocaine is that it makes your heart beat faster. People don't realise how long term the consequences of taking cocaine can be."

Featured Image Credit: Cavendish Press

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist who graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

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