The death of a man who died face-down on his bed at his Dunedin home after drinking more than five times the legal limit has prompted a warning against drinking heavily while on medications.

Beneficiary Christopher Short, 44, died of a cardiac arrest at the North East Valley home he shared with his parents while they were on a weekend holiday in their caravan last August.

Firefighters found Mr Short lying face-down after a neighbour saw smoke and heard a fire alarm at the house.

The alarm was set off by a pot of meat which had burned out on the stove, filling the house with non-lethal quantities of smoke.


Mr Short was found to have consumed more than five times the legal limit of alcohol allowed for drivers.

He was also found to have taken standard doses of the drugs diazepam, promethazine and citalopram, which had been prescribed by his doctor.

Coroner David Crerar found Mr Short had consumed alcohol to excess and taken his prescription drugs before putting a meal on the stove.

He then went to his bedroom and collapsed or fell onto his bed, where he died of a cardiac arrest.

Mr Short had a history of alcoholism, depression and suicide attempts, but Coroner Crerar found his death was not self-inflicted.

The coroner has warned against drinking heavily, particularly in conjunction with medicines, either prescribed or not.