Glasgow & West Scotland

Teenager Brandon Rice dies after 'taking ecstasy'

Brandon Rice Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Brandon Rice died in Hairmyres Hospital, East Kilbride, in the early hours of Wednesday

A teenager who died after falling ill in a house is believed to have taken ecstasy.

Brandon Rice, 17, was taken to hospital after the alarm was raised in Pitreavie Court, Hamilton, in the early hours of Wednesday.

Police said the death was being treated as unexplained and a post-mortem examination would be carried out.

His death comes just days after it emerged Scotland has the highest reported drugs death rate in the EU.

One line of the police inquiry is that Brandon had taken an ecstasy-type substance, BBC Scotland understands. The results of a toxicology report are awaited.

Two girls, aged 16 and 17, and 16-year-old boy were also taken to Hairmyres Hospital, East Kilbride, as a precaution.

Brandon was a pupil at Hamilton Grammar School and played for Hamilton Rugby Club.

Head teacher Graeme Sives, said: "Everyone at the school had a great affinity with Brandon - he was friendly, endearing and charismatic.

"He was as popular with staff as he was with his fellow students and had just been elected as a prefect for next session.

"Brandon was a talented sportsman, particularly in rugby and also last month gained a silver medal in track and field at the county sports."

'Fine young man'

Mr Sives said the teenager's death will have a profound impact on pupils and staff.

He added: "He was a student mentor for the Sportworx training programme having excelled on the course the previous year and had career options in that area as well as ambitions to join the Fire Service.

"Brandon was a fine young man and is a great loss to our school community.

"He had contributed so strongly and had so much to offer and his passing will be keenly felt by all of us."

Earlier this month a 16-year-old girl suspected to have taken ecstasy fell ill at a flat in the Springburn area of Glasgow.

Chelsea Bruce was taken to the city's Glasgow Royal Infirmary but died a short time later.

On Tuesday official statistics showed the number of drug-related deaths in Scotland soared to 1,187 last year.

The figure is 27% higher than the previous year, and the highest since records began in 1996.

They also revealed there were a record 35 ecstasy deaths in 2018, compared to 27 in the previous 12 months.

There were 64 deaths in the 15-24 category, a 78% increase on the 36 in 2017.

The statistics published by National Records of Scotland show that nearly three quarters - 72% - of those who died last year were male.

The vast majority of drug-related deaths - 1,021 - involved heroin, but a large percentage - 792 - had also taken pills such as diazepam and etizolam.

The 35-44 age group was associated with the most deaths at 442, followed by those aged 45-54 (345).

Related Topics

More on this story