A convicted murderer who killed a woman when he drove into on-coming traffic had attempted suicide at least once before he died behind bars in 2011.
Tony Worrell was twice over the legal drink-drive limit when he hit 26-year-old Katie Powels' car at speed, south of Auckland in 2008, in a bid to take his own life.
An inquiry into his death has begun at the Auckland District Court on Wednesday.
Worrell was sent to jail for 14 years in 2010, but died in custody about a year later shortly after an unsuccessful appeal.
His death is suspected self-harm and related to the use of prescription medication which he had needed to take regularly for a health condition.
The Coroner was told the death was related to the administration of the medication and that Worrell attempted to take his life with the same medicine once before at the Henderson police station.
Corrections staff giving evidence said rules about taking prescription medication have changed since his death.