A coroner’s toxicology report reveals that Huy Pham, the Costa Mesa city employee who jumped to his death from City Hall in March, had cocaine in his system, the Orange County Register is reporting.
Pham’s suicide came the day the city issued notices to more than 200 employees that they could be laid off within six months. Union leaders have pointed to Pham’s death as a consequence of the city’s handling of the layoff notifications.
From the Register’s story:
The report showed Huy Thanh Pham, 29, had 0.44 mg of cocaine per liter of blood in his system when he died. The report also shows there was no alcohol or other drugs in his system.
Coroner and district attorney officials declined to comment on how the amount of cocaine could have affected Pham or whether it is considered a significant amount.
A report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the average level of cocaine in the blood after one dose, or about 106 mg, can show up as 0.2 to 0.4 in the bloodstream.
An Internet search showed a “line” of cocaine can contain anwhere from 50 mg to 75 mg of cocaine.
Measuring the amount of cocaine found in the bloodstream cannot show how impaired the user is because there are other factors to consider, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety report.
“The presence of cocaine at a given blood concentration cannot usually be associated with a degree of impairment or a specific effect for a given individual without additional information,” the federal report said.
— DAVID WASHBURN
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