‘One pill can kill’ warning after death of popular Chesterfield teen

Aidan Karpenko was a talented musician.
Aidan Karpenko was a talented musician.

A talented young musician died after taking one pill ordered online to cure his anxiety, an inquest heard.

Aidan Karpenko, 19, of Chesterfield Road, Holmewood, was found dead hours after childhood friend Jamie Stone gave him a single Etizolam pill he had bought on the internet.

Etizolam is used as a medicine in Japan and India to treat anxiety, insomnia and panic attacks. The drug is not licensed as a medicine in the UK – although it is not classed as an illegal substance.

A support group this week sounded an alert about buying unlicensed and unregulated drugs online.

Aidan’s brother, Calvin, said: “We would seriously appeal to people thinking about using drugs to not do so. As Aidan’s death shows, it can only take one pill.”

Family described Aidan as a “lovely” young man during Monday’s inquest at Chesterfield coroners’ court.

Mr Stone told the court how Aidan visited his house in Malson Way, Newbold, at about 5pm on Tuesday, June 24 and asked for an Etizolam pill because he was “feeling anxious”.

The pair spent the night drinking, playing computer games and watching films before Aidan went to sleep on Mr Stone’s settee at about 2am.

Mr Stone, who was accompanied in court by a social worker, broke down in tears as he told of the moment he found his friend of 12 years dead.

“I woke up at 7am and I knew something was wrong,” he said. “Aidan was really pale and he’d thrown up.

“I rang for an ambulance and after that I don’t remember anything.

“Aidan was like a kid brother to me.”

Aidan, who worked as a bartender at Frankie and Benny’s in Chesterfield, was pronounced dead at 7.10am on Wednesday, June 25. Post-mortem tests revealed he died of cardiorespiratory depression due to Etizolam toxicity.

Mr Stone said he had been taking Etizolam for up to three years to help him sleep.

The small, blue tablet which killed Aidan – who did not have a history of drug abuse – was one of 100 Mr Stone had recently ordered from an online distributor in the UK.

Mr Stone was unable to categorically state the name of the online distributor and the court heard a police investigation had failed to find out where the drugs came from.

Coroner James Newman, who agreed to write a prevention of future deaths report in a bid to avert more fatalities in similar circumstances, said: “I’m concerned there’s an unlicensed, unregulated drug being manufactured and supplied in the UK.”

There were heated scenes in the courtroom as Aidan’s family accused Mr Stone of not knowing what the drug he gave to Aidan contained. Mr Stone insisted he had done his research.

Aidan’s biological mother, Louise Tasker-Lynch, paid tribute to the former Chesterfield College student, a talented songwriter and guitarist who would often entertain his classmates with his music.

She said: “He was a very loving young man.

“He always put everyone else first – if he could help in any way, he would.”

His foster mother, Louise Lowe, added: “Aidan had a real zest for life and is sadly missed.

“He was so bright, loving and talented.

“I loved him unconditionally.”

Mr Newman recorded a verdict of accidental death.

After the inquest, a spokesman for Chesterfield-based drugs support group Spoda said: “Substances bought from the internet are not regulated or licensed – people don’t know what they are taking.

“There is now a range of drugs on the market called new psychoactive substances – these come in a variety of different forms and the use of Etizolam is one area where the number of fatalities is increasing.

“All drugs carry risks and people never know how they will react to them. People are playing with their lives and sadly it’s the families who suffer the awful, devastating loss as a consequence of such deaths.”

For advice and support, call Spoda on 0845 600 3320 or visit www.doyouknowwhatsinit.org.uk