Man with cerebral palsy who died of overdose was ‘trained’ to take drugs, family say
The family of a man who died of an overdose said he was “undesirable” took advantage of his good nature and made him fall into drugs. Michael Greenheld, 49, who has cerebral palsy, was found dead at a friend’s house after taking a lethal dose of heroin.
Although he lives a full life and has a strong support network, Michael’s family believe he was “trained” to use drugs. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a child, he embraced life and participated in many sports, winning numerous medals.
Michael was close to his family and got help from a learning disability support team, but they couldn’t stop him getting involved with the wrong people, reports Hull Live.
After an inquest into his death, his family have spoken of their loss and how tragically Michael died. They said: “Michael was such a wonderful person and loved by all his family. But he had learning difficulties and people took advantage of that.
“He was vulnerable and some unscrupulous people could see it. We tried to keep him away from those people. He trusted people and showed them how nice he was. But that seemed to be his downfall. We feel that he has been taken care of.
“We don’t even think he understood what drugs he was on, but he knew the drugs were bad. He still believed in Santa Claus so how could he understand what was going on?
“We wanted him to live his life as normally as possible and give him some independence, but it was difficult for him. There were a lot of people at his funeral. They were all heartbroken and it showed how much people loved Michael. This reassured us. »
A statement was read by Michael’s sister which echoed similar concerns and explained how Michael refused to let his cerebral palsy prevent him from living life to the fullest. She said: “Michael was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was little, but he was popular, both with the other kids and the teachers.
“We had a trailer at Flamingo Land before all the fairground rides but he loves it there with the animals. He had an active life and many friends. Sport played a very big role in his life. He really loved football and was a Liverpool fan.
“He also played football every week. He also loved rugby league and supported Hull FC. He also enjoyed playing pool, bowling and darts and won medals. He didn’t let his disability hold him back. stop, which made us very proud.
“He loved his nephews and was very protective of them. He also had a very close bond with our mother who was very proud of him.
But the family knew they had to try to let Michael live his own life as much as possible. His sister said: “In his late twenties it was decided that Michael should try living independently and it was a very exciting time. He received a weekly allowance from our father.
“But Michael is very trusting and generous and the neighbors started befriending him and then took his money. But he moved to a new location near Holderness Road and was the happiest he had been in a while.
Michael received support from various organizations that helped him integrate into the community and offered him practical help. But despite this and the incredible support of his family, Michael fell into drugs.
His sister said: ‘About six years ago we found out he had gotten into drugs and taken heroin. He had fallen with a group of undesirables.
“He got very angry when we challenged him and he was very protective of these so-called friends. But we believe they just wanted his money. Michael trusted people very much and some people gained his trust and then took advantage of it.
In October, Michael was staying with a friend where he began to feel unwell. In a statement, the friend, who has since died, said: “I have known Michael for 14 years when we were hanging out downtown together.
“On October 22, Michael came to spend the night but the next day he said he was not feeling well and was pale. We offered him to stay one more night.
“He stayed on the couch in the guest room and made him a cup of tea. I checked on him later and he was sleeping. The next day, October 24, I noticed that Michael hadn’t I didn’t get up yet and it was almost noon I went to see him and he wasn’t answering, I called an ambulance.
When paramedics arrived, it was clear that Michael had been dead for some time and was cold to the touch. An autopsy was performed which revealed signs of pneumonia and a pulmonary embolism, but these issues would not have been enough to kill someone Michael’s age.
Toxicology samples were examined which revealed he had lethal levels of heroin in his system and the cause of death was heroin toxicity. Michael was taken care of by an adult learning disabilities support team who helped him find accommodation and suggested activities he could participate in.
Concerns were raised about his illicit drug use and he sometimes disappeared for days at a time. But he got involved with services and even arranged a renewal appointment (drug rehabilitation) the day after his death.
Area coroner Sally Robinson concluded that Michael’s death was “drug related”. She said: “What strikes me is Michael’s loving and supportive family and how central he was to their lives as well.
“It’s obvious he was a key member of the family. He loved his sport and despite having cerebral palsy it didn’t stop him from doing everything he wanted to do.
“The important thing is to remember Michael for who he was for his family and his giving nature. He lived to the full. He was not afraid to ask for help but this time it was too late It is a terribly sad loss for his family.”
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