A Port aux Basques mother is sounding the alarm after her daughter came home from a bar showing signs of ingesting a date rape drug.
Judy, not her real name, said Port aux Basques RCMP brought her daughter home at 6 a.m. last Saturday morning. She said the college student had gone to a bar with friends that Friday night, and her friends had brought her to her front door in a cab around 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning.
Judy’ daughter never made it from the cab to the front door. Instead she spent the next several hours wandering around that section of Port aux Basques, according to Judy. At one point she knocked on a stranger’s door. That person called the RCMP, who found the young woman and returned her home.
She was found without shoes or her purse, and she had serious bruises on her arms and wrists. She was also speaking incoherently, according to her mother.
Judy said she could tell from her daughter’s eyes that she wasn’t simply drunk. She put her to bed, but a couple hours later she found her daughter had wandered into a different room in the house.
By mid-morning her daughter began to gain her senses. She was confused and had no memory of the night after a certain point. Judy took her to the LeGrow Health Centre for a toxic screening, which came back negative for any drugs.
Susanne Ingram, executive director of the Gateway Women’s Centre, said what Judy described sounds like a textbook case of someone whose drink was spiked with a date rape drug.
Ingram said the drug can be odorless, colourless and tasteless. It is usually gone from the bloodstream and body by the time the victim realizes something is wrong and goes for tests.
“The confusion and memory loss that she showed is not conducive of most usual street drugs,” said Ingram.
Ingram said she has heard stories that date rape drugs may be appearing on the southwest coast, but this is one of the worst cases she has seen. She thinks the bruising on the arms and wrists suggest someone may have tried to direct the young woman somewhere against her will.
The Gateway Women’s Centre hosts an annual breakfast with high school graduates each spring, warning them of the dangers of sexual assault and suggesting preventative measures.
Ingram knows that Judy’ daughter was a participant in that event. Judy says her daughter didn’t leave her drink unattended that night.
Both Judy and Ingram say they would like to see bars offer customers the option of cups with lids and straws to make it even more difficult to slip substances into drinks.
A press release from Port aux Basques RCMP said the detachment is currently investigating two recent complaints involving females reporting they felt much more intoxicated than normal given the amount of alcohol they consumed. Police say both women reported being unable to account for several hours throughout the night.
The release said the exact cause of these incidents has not been determined, but the possibility of "date rape drugs" has not been ruled out.
“Common date rape drugs, Rohypnol, GHB and Ketamine can be odorless and tasteless and can easily be slipped into a person’s drink,” said the release. “When mixed with alcohol, they can cause a person to become intoxicated faster and will often render the individual unable to remember what happened to them.”
RCMP are warning the public not to accept drinks from anyone unless the drink is sealed or they are present when the drink is made, and not to leave drinks unattended.