Lack of nightclubs linked to drug-related deaths, expert says

Ella McCaffrey looks closer at what the experts say about Newcastle's recent drug-related deaths

Ella McCaffrey
4th November 2020
Professor Fiona Measham, co-founder of harm reduction charity ‘The Loop’, suggests that nightclub closures and the 10pm pub curfew played a key role in Newcastle's recent drug-related student deaths 

At the start of October three university students, two from Newcastle University and one from Northumbria University, and a 21-year old man died in suspected drug-related deaths. The two Newcastle students were both 18-year old women, and died in Park View student accommodation.

Police said that ketamine and MDMA were “suspected to have been a factor in the deaths of the students”. 

Ms Measham explains, “Nightclubs are a semi-safe space, they have registered door staff and security, the bigger clubs often have paramedics, they have chillout spaces”.

“If you don’t have nightclubs open, you lose that safety net”.

Measham raised these concerns “all summer to anyone who would listen”. Despite this, both of the 18 year old students who died in Park View died within the first 48 hours of freshers’ week.

Professor Chris Day, Vice Chancellor and President at Newcastle University, insists that freshers' week had not been a factor in either of the young students’ deaths.

In a public statement, Chris Day added that “both ourselves and Northumbria take a supportive and hard line against drug use and I have written to all of our students to remind them of the dangers of using illegal substances following these tragedies”.

However, Measham suggests that students being “scared” to call an ambulance if someone falls ill whilst taking drugs at a private party is a big part of the problem.

With clubs being closed, the ‘safety net’ that bouncers provide is removed. 

“Bigger clubs often have paramedics”

Further, her charity tests pills and powders confiscated by club security guards to identify substances of concern. 

NUSU, in partnership with Newcastle Public Health team, now provide a free and confidential drugs and alcohol clinic for students at Newcastle University. 

You can book a slot for an appointment over Zoom if you have any concerns about drugs, alcohol, or your lifestyle in general. 

Featured Image: Unsplash

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