House of Blues defends response to fatal drug overdose at Fenway nightclub

The House of Blues nightclub defended its response to three drug overdoses, one of them fatal, at a concert last month, during a hearing today before the city’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing.

“We get called ‘House of Rules’ because our searches are pretty extensive,” said Declan Mehigan, who manages the concert venue. Security staff pat down concertgoers as they enter and search their bags, employees said.

Authorities say the overdoses appeared to involve “Molly,” a pure form of ecstasy that police say has become increasingly popular among teenagers and young adults. Last weekend, two men suffered apparent overdoses of the club drug at another Boston concert, and a University of New Hampshire student died at a New York City music festival.

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Use of the drug, especially when mixed with alcohol, can have “fatal consequences,” said Boston Police Superintendent William Evans.

Evans said investigators have determined the three House of Blues victims did not buy the drugs inside the nightclub, located on Lansdowne Street next to Fenway Park.

The consumer affairs panel did not take immediate action, but board members told club officials they would notify the club of steps they may need to take.

At the City Hall hearing, new details emerged about the overdose of 19-year-old Brittany Flannigan, a student at Plymouth State University, who was from Derry, N.H.

Elizabeth Steele, a security staffer at the nightclub, told the board that she found Flannigan “convulsing on her feet” and completely unresponsive. But just minutes later, Flannigan appeared more lucid, another employee said, although she remained in convulsions.

Staffers led her — and her sister, who had accompanied Flannigan to the concert — to a stairwell where they waited for an ambulance. Flannigan was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center where she was later pronounced dead, police have said.

The House of Blues said they are reviewing their policies and cooperating with police but said their policies are already strict.

“This was an extremely unfortunate incident,” said Dennis Quilty, a lawyer for the House of Blues. “These are extremely small pills.”

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