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Autopsy Rules Overdose in Teen’s Death

SANTA FE, N.M. — An autopsy report confirms that Hannah Bruch, a 14-year-old girl from Santa Fe, died of an overdose.

The report, which was released today, notes that the teen who died following a dance party in Albuquerque in August had “extremely elevated” levels of both MDMA, commonly called Ecstasy, and diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in the anti-allergy drug Benadryl, in her body at the time of her death.

“The amount of MDMA alone is sufficient to cause death, however, combining it with a high amount of diphenhydramine would be especially lethal,” the report states.

MDMA is commonly taken at parties for its euphoric and hallucinogenic effects. A State Police report regarding the Aug. 11 death states that Bruch bought Ecstasy, then took five “hits” of the drug before entering a dance party at Expo New Mexico while her friends only took one or two. The autopsy report states that MDMA toxicity can include symptoms of agitation, coma and fatal heart arrhythmia.

Diphenhydramine intoxication can include symptoms of agitation, nausea, central nervous system depression and heart arrhythmia.

The report states that the teen had a racing heart rate and dilated pupils when she arrived at the emergency room. Despite efforts to resuscitate her she became pulseless and could not be revived.

State Police Sgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez said this is the first MDMA overdose death he’s seen in his experience with law enforcement in New Mexico. While the report states that one of the drugs found in Bruch’s body, Lidocaine, is commonly used as a “cutting agent” in drugs such as cocaine, Gutierrez said Benadryl is not.


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