(Updated) House of Blues, Pavilion answer to ‘molly’ overdoses

house of blues boston
The House of Blues on Lansdowne Street.
Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

Officials from the House of Blues and Bank of America Pavilion argued that they believe there was nothing else they could have done to prevent people from getting drugs or illegal substances into the venues on the nights that multiple people overdosed on drugs, including what is believed to be the club drug “molly.” 

During separate hearings before the city Licensing Board on Tuesday, officials from the venues defended themselves and offered details on how they are combatting repeat situations as the board weighs their fate.

Both venues were issued violations after the overdoses, which occurred just days apart in August. The board will likely decide later this week whether or not to issue a sanction that could include suspending or revoking the licenses of the venues.

Officials from the House of Blues said security checked people three times in line before getting into the Aug. 27 electronic dance music concert featuring Zedd. During that concert three people were taken to a hospital including one woman who died.

People in line were searched, but one of the women who overdosed was found at the hospital with two small pink pills in a pocket and a white substance in her bra, police and officials said.

“Obviously, they’re very easy to secrete somewhere in a pocket on a person,” said Attorney Dennis Quilty, as he held up a picture of “molly” pills.

Manager Declan Mehigan said security officials denied entry to 133 people in line on the night of the concert for various reasons, but mostly for showing signs of intoxication.

Officials also said they hired a detail of EMTs for the show that night in anticipation of medical issues because of the type of concert, but that the ambulance was at the hospital with other victims when a third victim needed medical attention.

“Because of the understand of the common usage of some of these drugs, there was a request for an EMT as a detail and we think that it saved at least two of these people,” Quilty said.

While the hiring of EMTs to work at the venue is handled on a show-by-show basis, House of Blues officials said that because of the incident, they will hire a squad of EMTs so that if the ambulance is gone, an EMT will still be present at the venue to help.

Just four days after the House of Blues overdoses, three people were taken to hospitals after overdosing at the Pavilion during a Sound Tribe Sector 9 show. Two of the men who overdoses apparently took “molly” while the other man admitted to EMTs that he took LSD, according to police.

Quilty, who also represented the Pavilion, said officials there are constantly on the looking for overdose behavior.

“They pay attention to these things … they’re extremely well staffed own security and have Boston police, state police and alcohol compliance on site,” he said.

Sgt. Detective Kenneth O’Brien testified about the Pavilion overdoses and said that “molly” he didn’t believe there was anything the venue could have done to prevent the overdoses.

“Molly,” he said, “is just a scourge within that night club type crowd.”

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.


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