A YOUNG man with “a heart of gold” died from playing “Russian roulette” with drugs.

Andrew Azzopardi was partying with friends when he became ill.

The 23-year-old had taken a “lethal cocktail” of drugs and died hours later, an inquest heard.

A toxicologist report found recreational levels of cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine in his blood and double the drink-driving level of alcohol.

There was also a high level of oxycodone, an opioid medication, but not fatal.

The inquest heard Mr Azzopardi, of Oriental Place, Brighton, was at a party in Canterbury Drive, Brighton, on October 5 .

He was found unconscious the next day by one of his friends who immediately called 999.

Under instruction from the ambulance service, the friend carried out CPR and put Mr Azzopardi in the recovery position.

The ambulance service put him on life support and tried to restart his heart but he was pronounced dead a short while later.

Brighton and Hove coroner Veronica Hamilton-Deeley said the cause of Mr Azzopardi’s death was cardiorespiratory arrest which was triggered by the toxicity of oxycodone and ketamine.

She said: “It’s Russian Roulette with drugs. You never know really what you are going to get.”

She said Brighton and Hove was among the UK cities with the highest number of drug-related deaths.

She said the level of alcohol was also a significant contributing factor in Mr Azzopardi’s death.

She concluded: “This is a drug-related death. He had no intention of killing himself so I call this a case of misadventure.

“It was an intentional act which unexpectedly and unintentionally led to his death.”

Mr Azzopardi’s cousin Robert Rowat said he had the kindest nature.

He told the inquest, held at Woodvale Crematorium, Brighton: “A way to sum him up is a memory I have when my brother and I were arguing in front of my young son and he stepped forward and took him outside to make sure he was all right.

“That was just how he was. The guy had a heart of gold.

“That was a very noticeable part of his character.”

Mr Azzopardi’s mother Paola Welsh said she never expected him to die young.

She said: “He was such a lovely, kind boy. We miss him.

“He used to love cooking, he would cook all the time.

“He was working as a chef and his favourite meal to cook was a roast for everyone.”