Drug Death Party Psychiatrist Admits Substance Misuse
A psychiatrist who hosted a party where a man died from an overdose has admitted that he also used class A drugs. Dr Clint Tatchell, who specialised in addiction therapy, has denied inappropriately supplying pills to his friends at the Roman-themed event at his luxury Glasgow flat.
The General Medical Council has been told that David Steel, 30, overdosed on ecstasy at the toga party.
Dr Tatchell, 37, who worked for NHS Greater Glasgow, also denied claims that he lied to police and hurriedly tidied the flat before detectives arrived to investigate his friend’s death in September 2003.
Officers later discovered Mr Steel had taken a cocktail of drugs including diazepam, ecstasy, heroin and cocaine.
Dr Tatchell claimed there were no illegal drugs in his Spiers Wharf flat on the night of the party, but admitted he had taken ketamine, a horse tranquilliser, on nights out with Mr Steel before his death.
Dr Tatchell said: “Obviously one of the topics which did come up with us getting to know each other was about our drug experiences. We spoke openly and freely about it.
“In narrating these stories and experiences with mind altering substances, David Steel did tell me about ketamine and its use as a recreational drug.
“I remember explaining the medicinal uses and he did explain the recreational use and the effect one gets from it.
“From what he described, the effect of the ketamine sounded very much like the euphoria that I had experienced when I had experimented with ecstasy, but it did not seem to have the same side effects.”
Dr Tatchell admitted he became “curious” about trying ketamine and even researched it on the internet. “I do admit that I did use it on a few occasions with David Steel. On all occasions when we used it was usually in a clubbing environment because that was the only avenue David Steel had.
“He told me how to purchase it, there was one club in particular in Glasgow where you could get it if you wanted to use it.”
Dr Tatchell admitted to the panel that he had taken ecstasy and cocaine while working as a model in the Netherlands for 18 months in the early 1990s.
He claimed he stopped because it gave him a sore tongue and anxiety attacks.
Dr Tatchell said he decided to give up ketamine completely because of a “moral dilemma” he faced when he was offered a post with NHS Greater Glasgow. He added: “I did have a dilemma with regard to using a mind-altering substance and working in a field where I was actually dealing with a group of society that was abusing it.”
Before working for the trust, Dr Tatchell worked at the exclusive Priory rehab clinic in Glasgow. He told the panel there were no drugs at his flat during the party, which started out as a night out in a Glasgow gay bar and turned into a three-day bender.
He said: “I was not aware of any drug-taking in my flat.”
The psychiatrist trained in Johannesburg, South Africa and practised in addiction psychiatry for NHS Greater Glasgow between 6 May, 2003, and 31 July, 2004. Dr Tatchell denies his fitness to practise is impaired.
The hearing continues.