Inquest at London Gay Sauna After Three Die From Drugs

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Wednesday Jun 25, 2014

Three men have died within eight months of each other after partying too hard at a London gay sauna, causing the 24-hour, drug- and smoke-free venue to beef up their searches for illicit drugs. A joint inquest is now being held in Southwark.

Gay Star News reports that 41-year-old Greg Page was found dead at the Pleasuredrome sauna in Waterloo in October 2012. John Scott, 46 years old, was found at the same time and rushed to a hospital, where he died two days later. Both men were found with high doses of GHB in their system, Page mixing it with alcohol and cocaine, and Scott taking MPA, a meth-amphetamine substitute. Eight months prior, Konstantinos Bamptazis was found dead in a locked room after taking mephedrone and GHB.

"His death was drug-related from a combination of mephedrone and GHB," said coroner Andrew Harris. "There is no evidence the drugs were forcibly given to him and there is no evidence he tried to take his life."

Since that time, sauna proprietor Charles Hill has beefed up security, saying that drug searches had become "more aggressive." The coroner said that is was "possible" that the sauna's zero tolerance toward drugs wasn't being implemented "aggressively" enough, but was assured changes had been made.

The UK Daily Mail is reporting on the inquest surrounding these deaths and a related situation involving another man, who was found unconscious on the premises, and taken to the hospital by paramedics. He was released from intensive care several days later.

Forensic toxicologist Fiona Perry told the court that Page had 803mg of GHB per liter of blood, and 0.13m of cocaine per litre of blood, noting that, "Gregory Page had alcohol in his blood, mild levels, and GHB levels enough for a fatality. Cocaine was also relatively high."

David Whitemore, senior paramedic and advisor to the London Ambulance Service medical director, told the court he was concerned about the multiple calls around substance abuse, and about reports from EMTs who said the club's lighting was dim and the rooms cramped, making it difficult to treat the patients.

Hill said that there were three staff members on duty with first aid training, and noted that he had installed better emergency lighting and phones, and limited the stay in private rooms to two hours.

The London Evening Standard further reports that Pleasuredrome, the London Ambulance Service and Lambeth Council are all represented in the joint inquest and will be putting forward their evidence of how and why the two men died this week. The inquest continues.

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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