A BOURNEMOUTH social worker died of an overdose of heroin after relapsing into drug use.

An inquest heard Kaz Welburn, aged 44 at the time of his death on May 25 this year, had struggled with addiction to drugs and alcohol during his younger years, and in 2016, after an extensive period of abstinence, he was once again hooked on heroin, cocaine and cannabis.

Mr Welburn, an enthusiast for hill walking, scuba diving and reggae music, was found dead at his home in Florence Road, Boscombe, by friend Ignatius Harling after failing to answer his phone for four days.

Mr Harling said his friend had been a hard-working and supportive friend, adding: "He is greatly missed."

The court, at Bournemouth town hall, heard Mr Welburn was originally from Abergavenny in Wales.

He had moved to Bournemouth aged 26 to undertake a drug rehabilitation programme, and had been abstinent for some 15 years before his relapse last year.

He worked for the council in social work managing front door child protection teams, and also as a self-employed painter and decorator.

Sudipto Das, consultant psychiatrist at Dorset HealthCare, said Mr Welburn had come to him for mental health care in 2015.

"He was abstinent then and referred to us by his GP because of stress at work, he was having difficulty dealing with the pressures of work," he said.

Dr Das said his client had responded well to treatment with a small amount of anti-depressant medication, but he was referred back in July last year.

"His presentation was more related to his drug and alcohol abuse, and he was reporting feeling low in mood."

The inquest heard Mr Welburn had discussed with his doctor using Class A drugs and considering ending his life, and he was briefly detained at St Ann's Hospital under the Mental Health Act.

He had admitted taking larger doses of heroin and cocaine, but had not indicated he had plans to commit suicide, and he was not assessed as high risk.

Police found no evidence of third party involvement at the scene of his death, and the medical cause of death was given as heroin toxicity.

Coroner Rachel Griffin said there was not enough evidence to say beyond reasonable doubt whether Mr Welburn had intended to take his own life, and so recorded his death as "drug-related".