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Coroner: Pond victim had drugs in system

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GREENFIELD — A man found dead in a retention pond in late March was under the influence of prescription narcotics when he went into the water, police said.

Zachary Wood, 22, was pulled from the pond by his father, who found him in the pond behind New Palestine United Methodist Church in the 3500 block of South CR 500W on March 31.

Wood’s death has been ruled an accidental drowning by the Hancock County coroner’s office, but toxicology reports show he was under the influence of hydrocodone, a prescription pain medication that is listed as a contributing factor in his death. Hyrocodone, a narcotic, is found in the common pain-relief medication Vicodin and others.

Family members told investigators Wood had struggled with dependency on narcotics in the past and had been through a rehabilitation program. He did not have a prescription for the medication at the time of his death, investigators said.

Deputy Coroner Rudy Nylund said the amount of medication in Wood’s system would have caused impairment.

Wood’s father told police the family had dinner together earlier in the evening, and Wood told his family he planned to go fishing, a favorite hobby.

The rest of the family went to a baseball game that evening. Wood’s father told investigators he became concerned when the family returned because Wood was not at home and was not returning calls or text messages.

He saw his son’s Chevrolet pickup truck in the parking lot of the church. The pond behind the building was about a mile from the family’s home and had been a favorite fishing spot of Wood’s, police said.

In the past three and a half years, the coroner’s office has investigated 49 drug-related deaths, Nylund said.

The vast majority of those are related to prescription drug abuse.

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