The death of an unemployed Taupō man has been attributed to the use synthetic cannabis and drinking methylated spirits.

Andrew McAllister died on August 17 last year after he smoked synthetic cannabis before collapsing on~to the floor the night before.

The 49-year-old was with friends when he collapsed, not an unusual occurrence for McAllister, so they didn't immediately attend to him, coroner Gordon Matenga found.

"His complexion changed becoming grey and looking cold … There were no signs of life. CPR was commenced and emergency services were called.


"CPR was continued until paramedics arrived and took over," Matenga said.

McAllister's extended delay in effective CPR led to severe hypoxic brain injury and death.

The Coroner investigated to highlight the issues around the drug. Photo / File
The Coroner investigated to highlight the issues around the drug. Photo / File

He was known to drink methylated spirits and would often have a bottle nearby, the coroner found.

McAllister smoked cannabis before using synthetics once it became legally available in shops.

The coroner said he would often drink meths or smoke synthetics to the point where he would lose consciousness.

"Although he had sought assistance for his serious substance abuse issues in the past, Mr McAllister remained firmly in their grasp."

He was not breathing when emergency services arrived on the scene but was revived and transported to Taupō Hospital before he was transferred to Waikato Hospital.

McAllister failed to recover consciousness and continued to deteriorate and following discussions with family, intensive care therapies were ceased and he died.


His death was one of many following synthetic cannabis use throughout New Zealand last year and Matenga investigated it to highlight the issue around its use.

"It was important to investigate the circumstances and hold an inquest to better understand what was happening, to determine whether the synthetic cannabis was indeed the cause and if so, to highlight the issue as a warning to others," he said.

McAllister had recently been evicted from his previous accommodation and moved in with his mother. Despite his issues, she described him as a "good son".