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The invisible epidemic of drugged drinks



If you've spent an evening anywhere people gather for drinks and a good time over the past three decades or so you've probably seen a poster or heard a warning watch your drink. Don't leave it unattended. If in doubt pour it out it's not a new problem. It is is a chillingly persistent one. It is also an issue for which Canada is still struggling to find a coherent strategy and for all those warnings warnings and awareness campaigns. Unless you've been a victim of these drugs you're probably underestimating. The effect they can have that was driven home in December and a series of viral videos that documented one young woman's week long recovery from a drug slipped into her drink at a bar. How big was the dose? She got don't know what drug was. It exactly also don't know how many other women were targeted in the same establishment published at least one but beyond that we don't know before you can find the solution to a problem you have to understand the SCOPE COPA and we're still grappling with the fact that these anecdotal stories and viral videos and occasionally even charges and convictions are likely just the tip of the iceberg. So how can we see. What's underneath the water? I'm throwing this. Is the big story Rosa. Sabah reports at the Calgary Bureau for the star but this time she covered hovered something out on the East Coast. Hi Rosa I'm doing. Well a little more disturbed after reading your report. But why don't you start by telling me about jobs as Sonya. What happened to her? Sure so shows. Eight is a twenty year old student in Nova Scotia She's traveled with some of her classmates to Halifax on January seventeenth to celebrate her birthday her twentieth birthday as well as kind of she described it as kind of like her last big night house. She's in her last semester. She's looking forward to graduating starting her career and she wanted to have one night out with her friends. Celebrate her birthday. Celebrate the next chapter of her life if but unfortunately it did not end well so they went out to a few a few bars clubs. She describes it as she had a few drinks not got a lot but what happened was she started vomiting. She started getting sick at the second place they went to and her friends took her home when they took her home to the Airbnb I she started losing control of her legs so they were numb. She couldn't walk properly. Her vision was blurring. They knew something was wrong and so they called nine hang on one and brought her to the hospital where she was told that her drink had likely been drugged so not a great end to birthday. Luckily obviously her friends were with her but those effects lasted for more than a week so. Jj shared a few videos on facebook showing her completely unable to walk. She needs to have people helping her. She can't control her legs and obviously a very very frightening experience. Not Not what she was planning at all. Tell me a little bit more About the videos maybe be described them a bit and and why did they go so viral because these things are really spread. Su there's a couple of videos one of the shared on the evening after that night out and then one of them was shared the day after that January nineteenth and I found not one really striking. Because she's in a living room I believe she's at home with her parents. It's and she tries to stand up from the couch. She needs help standing up from the couch. I'm and she's holding onto the coach with one of her arms and then both of her arms. She's trying to move her legs and you can tell that she can't really she can't really move her knees properly. Her legs are kind of flopping around. Looks like she barely has any control of them. And this this is a day and a half after the drug and I think the why these went viral. I mean there's two reasons one is. It's it's striking. When we think of what people call date rape drugs we don't realize the kinds of effects they can have? Maybe we think of someone passing out someone having Amnesia. We don't think someone completely losing control of their limbs for multiple days and the second reason that I think that her videos went viral is just because people don't share these experiences if you do get drugs or you believe you've been drugged it's a you know. Most people wouldn't share video of themselves and say look. This happened to me so I think it's the honesty combined with sort of the shock of what those drugs did to her. That made these videos resonate resonate with people across Canada. How unusual is that When you talk to doctors or people at the hospital for those symptoms to last so long afterwards I mean you reported where did that? She was still feeling the effects almost a week later. And to your point yes that is. I mean maybe stupidly but not something that I would associated with these kind of drugs. It's not something I would have associated with it either but when I talked to a doctor here with Alberta Health Services Dr Mark Your Amo He said it's actually more common than you think. It definitely depends on the drug. It depends ends on dose. It depends on the person but he said it's not uncommon for the effects of these drugs to last up to two weeks. So I mean the act. Sadly the act of of someone being given these drugs And getting sick is not news. It happens a lot but one of the things you kind of delved into his what we still don't understand stand About the problem as a whole what. What are we missing? What pieces are there are still not there well? Data is definitely a big part of it. I mean the first thing I did is is try and find out on how many people have their drink. Spiked are drugged on a night out. And they're they're simply is not conclusive conclusive data. There's been a few studies done on A. D. F. S. A. which is the acronym for drug assisted sexual assault there have been studies. Toxicology studies on those people to try and determine how many of with them were drugged with what we think of the common date rape drugs. which are I rookies or Rohypnol and GHB which is gamma hydroxy? Acid and those are the common ones and those studies. The toxicology studies have found that. The numbers of those are very low. I but there's a number of reasons why I want. That doesn't mean that. Drink spiking slow first of all those are not the only drugs that are used in drink spiking. You can use almost anything. I missed your Ema told me like it's you you could use Ritalin you could use antidepressants. I mean any of these drugs. Combined with alcohol are bound to affect somebody and as he pointed out many people are simply he plied with alcohol and that counts as well as drug facilitated sexual assault. So it's it's hard to tell. Just how many people are purposely drugged. It's hard hard to tell. What's maybe a combination of alcohol and a medication? They're already on. It also doesn't help that both hypnotized or rupees. GHB disappear from the blood system really really really quickly. I between six to twelve hours but often even less than that and so if someone is tested which they often aren't those drugs might not show up so first of all studies make it very difficult to tell when someone is purposely drugged second of all that data isn't even collected collected in most hospitals primarily. Because it would just be so difficult to get data we can rely on when you spoke to people at hospitals and elsewhere. What do they suggest what we could do? Maybe to get a better sense of the picture. Is there anything or is it. Just sort of the nature of this particular beast. We'll obviously one thing as well that I that I should have mentioned action. That really affects us. Not knowing the scale of this problem is the fact that many people don't report this. We all know that. There's a huge stigma attached to to sexual assault and while not all cases of drink spiking and in sexual assault like shows Aa. Luckily she had her friends with her There's still kind of an element of shame. This is something that we know. Our society is is slowly progressing with but but we're definitely still not there and a lot of young women are taught to watch their drinks. Stunned drink too much. You know don't wear don't wear the wrong thing and so there is an I mean another another person who was a victim of drink spiking who I spoke to. She's in the Article Angela putter. That's what that's what she said. She said when she when she realized she'd been drugged she didn't want to report it because she felt ashamed. She even had people in her life. Tell her will. You should have been more careful all so one of the things that that the doctor I spoke to who really wanted to highlight wise. First of all if you're the victim report it go to the hospital as soon as possible if you believe leave. You've been drugged. If you're the friend of the victim believed them bring them to the hospital so they can get tested and if you're a medical professional believed them and test them. I think that that's one of really one of the really big barriers is is people not getting tested people not reporting these things soon enough and people not leaving each other. I wanted to go back to Joe's as experience in particular because it also illustrates something else about the larger problem. So tell me about what happened when she discussed her incident in particular and where it happened with people at the hospital hospital sure so she actually went to the hospital three times as she went obviously the night that it happened and she was not tested for for date. Rape Drugs She said that hospital staff told her there were so many different drugs. That could be used. That testing would basically

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