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Steel Son’s Suicide Investigated

October 17, 1997

MARTINEZ, Calif. (AP) _ Danielle Steel’s 19-year-old son may not have been taking enough medicine for his manic depression when he died of a heroin overdose.

The romance novelist’s rock musician son, Nicholas Traina, had 0.20 milligrams of morphine, a heroin byproduct, in his blood when a friend found his body in his apartment Sept. 20, blood tests show.

That level is in the ``toxic to fatal range,″ Contra Costa Deputy Coroner James Flanagan said.

While Traina had normal ranges of the antidepressant Prozac in his blood, he apparently was not taking the prescribed level of lithium for his manic depression, according to toxicology tests released Tuesday.

Steel, whose latest novel is ``Special Delivery,″ has said her son had suffered neurological damage at birth and struggled with the mood disorder and with drug addiction.

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