Coroner Said 18-Year-Old Who Died After Taking Pills in Fabric was "Naive User"

Ryan Browne's death was one of two this summer that led to the club's closure.

Nov 15 2016, 9:45pm

Photo courtesy of Duncan C/Flickr

Ryan Browne, an 18-year-old that died after taking drugs at London's Fabric nightclub this summer, bought a pill inside the club because he felt "frustrated" at not feeling the effects of the drugs he had brought in himself, an inquest into his death heard today.

Browne's death was one of two this summer in connection with Fabric that led local government authority, Islington Council, to revoke the club's license, forcing it to close on August 12. Experts found in a postmortem examination that he had fatal levels of MDMA in his blood, and senior coroner Mary Hassell concluded Browne's death was drug-related, the Guardian reported.

"He was a naive user—he was naive in life as well, but he was a naive drug user," she said. "The drugs in his system were enough to kill somebody who was very habituated and he was very far from habituated."

The level of MDMA in Browne's blood was 2.48 mg/ml, well above the upper recreational limit which is 0.35 mg/ml.

Fabric released a statement in response to the hearing on their website today. "All of us at fabric's thoughts are with Ryan Browne's family at this incredibly difficult time," they said. "The safety of our customers has always been of paramount importance to us, side by side a zero tolerance policy to drugs. We have always strongly opposed the use of illegal substances, and we reiterate that there is no safe way to take drugs."

Mitchell Gomez of harm reduction organization Dancesafe told THUMP via email that Browne's tragic death highlights the need for better education around drug use and the dangers of punitive drug legislation.

"These deaths are always a tragedy, but it's especially frustrating knowing that with proper education, or with legalized, regulated markets, almost all of these incidents could be avoided," he said.

Gomez speculated that Browne might have taken an unusually strong pill, such as the ones that have reportedly been on the scene in Europe recently. The Netherlands' Trimbos Institute and UK drug safety organization The Loop have both issued warnings about extra strong pills in Europe. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction released a report in May saying that ecstasy on the continent is stronger than ever.

"The blood levels in the autopsy report in this particular case indicate an extremely, extremely high dose, well beyond what we normally see in recreational users," he said.

UK-based harm reduction organization The Loop, which has worked with Fabric in the past, advises people who use MDMA to be careful with their dose, starting with a small amount (such as a quarter of a pill) and waiting 1-2 hours for it to take effect before taking more. Dancesafe, meanwhile, manufactures and sells drug testing kits that people can use to screen for potentially dangerous adulterants in drugs.

Fabric will appeal Islington Council's decision to revoke its license on November 28, and it recently released a 111-track compilation on November 4 to help pay for its ongoing legal battle. Previously, the club released a statement detailing how the fundraising money will be used.

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