Coroner warns of ecstasy danger

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A coroner yesterday made an emotional plea to young people on the nightclub rave scene not to take ecstasy.

He had just heard how 18-year-old student Ben Nodes, of Bournemouth, was found dead in a lavatory cubicle at the Rhythm Station nightclub in Aldershot, the morning after taking the drug.

The North East Hampshire coroner Andrew Bradley said: "There are probably people who understand now precisely what ecstasy can do. I am sorry we cannot pack every single nightclubber in this room to tell them what it is like. You end up curled on the floor of a lavatory somewhere, dead."

He apologised to Mr Nodes's mother, Susan, if he had hurt her but said he thought his message was important, adding it was the third ecstasy death he had dealt with in two years.

Recording a verdict of misadventure, Mr Bradley said: "If this inquest does nothing else, please let it cry out to everybody who wants to have a good time - `there is a cost to drug taking and there is an opportunity to stay alive by avoiding these substances'."

The response to ecstasy was unpredictable, he said. "One talks of recreational doses, let me talk of death doses. When you buy drugs on the street there is nothing to tell you exactly what you are buying, the quality of it, the effect it will have and whether you will still be alive tomorrow."

He said Mr Nodes had "died alone in isolation - that is the nature of the thing".

"You steal away and crumble, there is nothing more to it. The three deaths I have had have been people who have stolen away and quietly died."

t A specially-trained drugs doctor will soon be on hand at one of the country's top nightclubs to offer advice to people who have taken ecstasy. Liverpool's Cream club is believed to be the first nightspot in Britain to make such an appointment. A spokeswoman for the club said: "We feel we have a duty to young people. We have a first-aider but there are limitations on what he can do."