Former scaffolder Simon Hunt was found dead at home on Christmas Day.
The 49-year-old was discovered lying on the floor by his ex-partner who had become concerned when she was unable to contact him.
An inquest heard he had died from aspiration pneumonia, brought on by illegal drug use.
Former partner Hayley Welch – who had known Simon for 20 years – was the last person to see him alive, on December 21, 2018.
In a statement, she said: “He had not been well recently, I think because he had been using drugs more heavily. Over the past couple of months he had lost a lot of weight. More recently he had been experiencing shortness of breath.
“I last saw him on December 21. He was particularly unwell. I did some errands for him and then stayed with him for a while. He seemed to pick up so I left at about 9pm.”
Ms Welch said she tried to call Simon several times on Christmas morning. He did not answer, so she called at his home in Easdale Place, Newcastle, but could get no response. She tried his friend’s house and later called a number of other friends and family, the hospital and police in an effort to find him.
The statement continued: “At 4.30pm I returned to Simon’s house with my step-father. I went to the back and looked through the kitchen window. I could see his feet in the doorway to the living room.
“The back window had been boarded up so I pulled the board off and climbed in. I could see Simon on the floor. I knew straight away he was dead.”
Paramedics certified Simon’s death at 4.48pm. Police found evidence of drug use inside the property.
Tests found Simon had various drugs in his system, including heroin, cocaine and his prescribed methadone. He died of aspiration pneumonia caused by the use of methadone and heroin. He also had a cirrhotic liver and chronic pancreatitis, which contributed to his death.
Assistant coroner Sarah Murphy concluded that Simon’s death was drug and alcohol-related.
She said: “The deceased had a medical history of alcohol and drug dependence. In the weeks leading up to his death he had been suffering with breathing difficulties.
“Toxicology tests found the deceased had used a number of drugs before his death. Drug and alcohol addiction is one of the cruellest afflictions.”