Warehouse Project death: Club boss declares new age of drug danger as UK-first testing initiative launches

By Marios Papaloizou

Drugs are more dangerous than ever before according to the Warehouse Project’s boss and the venue are launching a UK-first testing initiative to combat the problem after a clubber died this weekend.

Partygoer Nick Bonnie tragically died at Warehouse Project’s opening night on Friday after taking ‘contaminated’ ecstasy – and now the club are trialling an on-the-spot drug testing policy.

The test will give immediate insight into the ingredients of any confiscated drugs and the club will then alert revllers to any dangerous ‘batches’ via social media.

Sacha Lord-Marchionne – Warehouse Project director – said: “It seems the dangers of recreational club drug like ecstasy are on the rise with new varieties and a greater range of ingredients than existed previously.

“Obviously all drugs are dangerous but it is important to find out exactly what is in there.

“At the moment it is so wide and varied what is out there. A 14 year old can go on the internet at the moment and can purchase something.

“For the first time ever in club history the Home Office are going to fund a trailer that is going to come up and any confiscated drugs will be put through their machine which, literally within seconds, evaluates what is the make-up of that particular concoction.”

And Mr Lord-Marchionne believes the power of social media will play a big part in saving lives with this ground-breaking scheme.

“If something is dangerous we can send out messages via social media to those people who are at the event,” he explained.

“We have 80-100 thousand followers. They are not all at the Warehouse project but they are all potentially [on a night] out.

“This is a national issue…we need to educate people as to what is going on at the moment because there is some nasty stuff out there.”

Mr Lord-Marchionne hit back at calls for the club’s licence to be reviewed following the death of Nick Bonnie – claiming that his venue is safer than the majority of other nightclubs.

“Well 95% of other places don’t have private police on the door, they don’t have drug sniffer dogs, they don’t search everybody, they don’t have paramedics on site, so my argument would be that is a safer environment to be in than the majority of other places,” he said.

He refused be drawn on whether a change needed to be made at government level to curb the dangers of drug use but reiterated that the Warehouse Project has a zero-tolerance drug policy.

“We can’t legislate. The government has to legislate,” he said.

“We don’t condone drug use we have a zero tolerance policy.

“We would urge them to take note of exactly what is going on at the moment because I have been doing this for 20 years and I’ve never come across anything similar to the reaction that we are seeing at the moment.

“Rather than taking a few weeks to make a decision someone needs to get a grip of it to help clubbers and people going out understand the dangers of exactly what is going on.” 

When asked whether there is a more prevalent risk in taking drugs today as opposed to 20 years ago Mr Lord-Marchionne emphatically remarked that it is a new age for drug danger.

“It is a problem specific to this time,” said Mr Lord-Marchionne.

“The options out there are endless. You can go on the internet and get next day delivery. Things are being made in backstreets of places on the other side of the world and shipped over here. 

“No one knows what is in them. Formulas are being changed every single day. The government make the formula illegal and then a scientist tweaks it slightly to make a new formula and it carries on. 

“So it’s not going to stop; it’s down to education.” 

Nick Bonnie died after reportedly taking a batch of tainted drugs and his death has rocked the whole Warehouse Project organisation. 

“We are devastated. You can’t put it into words it’s just complete and utter devastation,” he admitted. 

“You can’t really explain it until you’ve gone through it. We saw it happen and it’s something that will never leave us.”

Image courtesy of Shaun Murphy, with thanks.

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