Following two recent deaths at Fabric, the London club has closed permanently after having its licence reviewed and revoked.
Islington Council deliberated the decision until the early hours of this morning (September 7), but decided that club patrons were “inadequately searched” when it came to taking drugs into the venue. The report added that “Staff intervention and security was grossly inadequate in light of the overwhelming evidence that it was abundantly obvious that patrons in the club were on drugs and manifesting symptoms showing that they were. This included sweating, glazed red eyes and staring into space and people asking for help.”
Sadly, the two 18-year-old males who died at Fabric aren’t the only people to pass away this year from taking illegal drugs, and probably won’t be the last. Despite the numerous deaths on nights out and at festivals, young people aren’t going to stop taking drugs. But measures can be taken to make them safer. Closing clubs isn’t the answer – being realistic about what goes on in venues across the country is. People aren’t going to stop taking drugs now that Fabric has closed, they’ll just do it elsewhere; in bedrooms, other clubs, in pubs, in bars, in warehouses, at house parties and festivals.
Earlier this summer, drug testing charity The Loop set up at Secret Garden Party, offering punters the chance to have their stash looked at forensically, to see what they were actually ingesting. This wasn’t just to see what people were getting in terms of purity but in case they were about to neck PMA – or PMMA – instead of MDMA; super strength stimulants that have been linked to tens of deaths in the UK over the past few years, in the guise of Green Rolex or Superman pills. We recently ran a feature looking into The Loop’s work, which you can read here.
Similar schemes have been in place at clubs in a number of European countries for years and a pilot scheme was run at Manchester’s Warehouse project in 2013, but it is yet to become a regular fixture in the UK. Yet now more than ever, we think that its clear that punters should have the option to have their drugs tested – no questions asked – at UK venues. People will take drugs at clubs, always have done, always will, and it’d be nigh on impossible to totally ban all drugs from venues. They’re already illegal, but it certainly doesn’t stop people from taking them. And if there was some magical way to make clubs entirely drug-free they’d probably be half-empty every weekend. However, something that is possible is that measures can be taken to make sure clubbers are as safe as possible on site – drug testing is one of those ways.