London nightclub suspends operations amid investigation into recent deaths of two teenagers

Fabric to close this weekend after drug-related deaths
Fabric nightclub in Farringdon, London. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

The London nightclub Fabric is to close this weekend after the drug-related deaths of two teenagers.

The most recent incident took place on Saturday, when an 18-year-old male collapsed outside the venue at 8.20am and was pronounced dead shortly after.

Another 18-year-old died after he fell ill at the 2,500-capacity club in Farringdon on 25 June. Neither death is being treated as suspicious.

The club said on its website: “For the past two years Fabric has operated without incident, but tragically in the past nine weeks two 18-year-old boys have died as a consequence of drug overdoses.

“In order to understand how this has happened we have agreed with the police and other agencies to suspend our operation while we investigate. The club will therefore be closed this weekend.”

It said it would make a further statement next week and that all tickets for this weekend would be refunded.

Over the past three years, Fabric has struggled to maintain its licence amid increasing pressure from the Metropolitan police and Islington council over drug-related incidents.

In December 2014, the police requested the council “seriously consider” revoking the club’s licence, citing four deaths in the previous three years and eight other incidents in which clubbers collapsed.

Fabric was able to remain open, though the council imposed strict licensing conditions, including sniffer dogs and ID scans, but in December 2015 it won an appeal against these conditions, on the grounds that they undermined efforts to confiscate drugs at the door.

The news follows a growing number of cases in which people have died after taking ecstasy. One of the most recent cases was 22-year-old Will Moss, who died in July after collapsing outside the Chameleon nightclub in Southend.

In May, Faye Allen, 17, from Liverpool, died after taking ecstasy while at a nightclub in Manchester.

According to ONS statistics released last year, deaths caused by ecstasy or MDMA – the active ingredient in ecstasy also sold in powder form – rose from eight in 2010 to 50 in 2014. This follows a spike in the purity of the drug, which is at its strongest in years.

Harm reduction charities such as The Loop, which conducts drug testing and offers advice at festivals, has found pills containing up to 250mg of MDMA, more than double the average quantity found in pills during the late 90s.

Common harm reduction advice is for users to test their reaction to a pill by taking half, or a quarter, and waiting before taking more.

The Loop’s CrushDabWait campaign encourages users to consider the way they consume MDMA, advising those who want to take it to crush it into a fine powder, take a small finger dab and then wait one to two hours before considering taking more.

This article was amended on 12 August to correct a sentence that said Faye Allen died after taking ecstasy at a nightclub in Liverpool. The nightclub was in Manchester.

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