Professional Athlete Dies From Ecstacy Overdose
By: Stephanie Allen-Gobert
Ex-Luton Town football player, Parys Okai died in Leicester Royal Infirmary on October 30, three days after collapsing at a nightclub. Okai’s death was from an overdose of the drug ecstasy at the O2 Academy in Leicester.
Okai and a former professional football player and friend, Lee Orcheston had travelled from Luton to the O2, which was staging a two –day music event, Outbreak. During a hearing at Leicester Town Hall, Orcheston stated that he had 1g of ecstasy on him and Okai had 3g. Orcheston also stated that “once they were in the club, he saw Mr. Okai dancing a lot and knew he had taken the ecstasy.”
At some point during the evening, Orcheston, who had introduced Okai to the women in O2 as his brother, went outside. “When I was outside, a girl came running out,” Orcheston stated. “She said “Lee, your brother is dead on the dance floor.” “I ran back inside and saw Parys on the floor. He was fitting. I kissed him and said “Parys, mate, you’re cool. It’s Lee. I’m not going to leave you.”
Orcheston said he and a member of the venue’s security staff moved Okai to a private room, where emergency first aid was administered until paramedics arrived and took over. Toxicologist Peter Smith said the test showed that Okai had a level of 1,906 nanogrammes of MDMA-generally known as ecstasy-in a millilitre of his blood. He said 0.1g of the drug would produce a blood level of between 130 and 300 nanogrammes per millilitre. Dr. Smith said blood levels above 500 nanogrammes per millilitre had proved fatal, and that Mr. Okai had died of an overdose of MDMA.
Parys Okai mother, Gillian Edmunds, said she had never seen her son take drugs. She said: “My son was very fit. He was a footballer. He didn’t hide anything from me and I would have known if he was taking drugs.”
Detective Constable Eleanor Develin said the police had investigated Okai’s death but did not know who had supplied him with the drug. Coroner Catherine Mason recorded a verdict of misadventure. She said all the evidence pointed to the fact Mr. Okai had taken the drugs voluntarily.
Mrs. Mason warned people not to take illegal street drugs. “Nobody could be sure what was in them. Please don’t dabble-and pass out that message.” she said.
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