A NORTH Yorkshire coroner has warned against a lethal cocktail of ketamine and heroin which claimed the life of a young student.

Mariam Ali Shaabam, 24, was found dead behind Brandon Lodge, off Lancaster Park Road, on the morning of April 10 last year, just days after completing her final dentistry exams.

An inquest into Mariam’s death found she may have lived if medical assistance had been sought sooner, and assistant coroner for North Yorkshire Geoff Fell said it was important people know that police will not be called to a suspected drugs overdose unless paramedics need assistance or report suspicious circumstances.

Mr Fell said: “As this tragic case highlights, time is a crucial factor in cases involving the misuse of drugs and any delay in calling for medical assistance can mean the difference between life and death.

“Our main concern is that people receive the care that they need as quickly as possible, therefore an agreement was introduced in 2007 which means that emergency health workers will not routinely call the police in the event of an apparent drugs overdose.”

Detective Sergeant Steve Menzies of Harrogate CID, said: “This is a very sad case in which a celebration turned into a tragedy. Mariam was about to embark on a career in dentistry. Unfortunately having just passed her final exams she was never aware that she had her passed her degree.

“The two people in her company were aware of her troubled breathing after she took a cocktail of drugs but no medical assistance was sought. I would expect that most people’s thoughts would have been to get her emergency medical assistance, especially as Harrogate Hospital A&E was directly across the road to Brandon Lodge. Mariam was dragged to the rear of the building and left behind some bins. There was a further one-and-a-half hour delay before an ambulance was called.”

Det Sgt Menzies said he was disappointed to hear witnesses refer to using ketamine as “a ‘party’ drug”.

He said: “This drug is a horse tranquiliser and unfortunately the misuse of this drug has contributed to the death of Mariam. We also heard evidence from one witness who knew of another person who had died after using ketamine.

“Miriam’s death could have been avoided and this is a waste of a talented young life. Our thoughts are with Mariam’s family and friends as they try to come to terms with what happened to her.”

Mr Fell returned a conclusion of death by misadventure at the inquest on Wednesday.