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‘Death by misadventure': Amy Winehouse and alcohol poisoning

Soul singer Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning with empty vodka bottles in her room -- a “death by misadventure,” according to the investigating coroner.

The news is a sad coda for the “Back to Black” singer’s passing. Before her death in July, Winehouse had reportedly been attempting to recover from alcohol and drug abuse. Family members were quoted as saying she may even have died from detoxing too quickly and suffering alcohol withdrawal.

But the coroner’s report found that Winehouse had consumed 416 milligrams per deciliter of blood. That’s above the potentially lethal dose of 400 mg per deciliter (or a blood-alcohol level of 0.4, five times the legal drunk-driving limit in the U.S.), according to the Mayo Medical Laboratories.

“Amy was battling hard to conquer her problems with alcohol, and it is a source of great pain to us that she could not win in time,” a family spokesman said in a statement. “She had started drinking again that week after a period of abstinence.”

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Relapse -- why it happens, what the complicating factors are, how to prevent it -- is one of the most difficult parts of recovering from alcohol dependence. Studies show that stress and depression can be major contributing factors; often, those recovering from addiction don’t recognize and thus can’t appropriately manage their own “internal states,” which may lead people to fall back to drinking.

The first step, however, is to get help. The Mayo Clinic provides a list of possible treatments.

Follow me on Twitter @LAT_aminakhan.


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