DRUG ABUSE – A woman whose brother and sister died on the same night has spoken of her heartbreak and warned others not to take medication not prescribed to them.
As it Happened
Jade Couperthwaite, 32, woke up at her Bolton flat on September 6 2022 to find her sister Carla Couperthwaite, 26, unresponsive next to her on the sofa.
She shouted for her brother Stephen Fisher, 33, in the bedroom next door, and when paramedics arrived minutes later, Jade ran in to wake Stephen – to find he also was not breathing.
‘I still cannot accept they both died together on the same day,’ she said. ‘It feels impossibly cruel. Carla and me were best friends as well as sisters. She was beautiful, and she was such a lovely, kind-hearted, funny girl.
‘I was her big sister and I looked after her ever since she was newborn. It breaks my heart I could not protect her the night she died.’
Jade said people often mistook her and Carla for twins because they looked so alike. The sisters lived together, borrowed each other’s clothes, and ‘did everything together,’ she continued.
Official Cause of Death
Earlier this month an inquest into their deaths concluded their deaths were drug related after the pair took morphine Stephen claimed had been prescribed to him for tooth pain.
Now, Jade is speaking of her agony in the hopes Carla’s death can serve as a warning to others not to to take medication not prescribed to them.
She said Carla would still be alive if she hadn’t taken the morphine for her toothache. ‘Nothing will bring her back, but perhaps our tragedy can save another life,’ she said.
Stephen was Addicted
An inquest earlier this month heard Stephen had struggled with addiction.
Giving evidence, Steven Downey, a recovery coordinator at the drug and alcohol service Achieve, said Stephen had four periods of treatment between 2019 and 2023 but all were closed due to non engagement.
Dr Ravindra Sawant, a pathologist, said he found multiple drugs in Stephen’s system including a low concentration of amphetamine, a therapeutic level of diazepam and pregabalin, levels of cocaine and a high level of morphine.
He said Stephen was not a regular user of morphine and therefore his tolerance was not as high and that his pattern of cocaine use made him more vulnerable to its side effects. Stephen’s cause of death was given as combined drug toxicity.
What was Found in Carla’s Body System
Dr Sawant said Carla had cannabis, cocaine, alcohol, diazepam, pregabalin and morphine in her system. The inquest was told Carla had been engaging with a drug and alcohol plan prior to her death and also undertook around 12 psychotherapy sessions for anxiety and depression.
Jade said she felt ‘very angry’ towards Stephen after he lied about being prescribed the morphine. ‘If he’d been honest about the morphine, I’d never have let Carla take it,’ she continued. ‘I have to live the rest of my life without them, all because of that.’