Spike in drugging prompts warning from Nanaimo Mounties

NANAIMO – Police investigating complaints by five victims sickened by drinks possibly spiked with date rape drug.

Nanaimo Mounties are investigating at least five cases where 19-year-old women became sick after they were allegedly slipped the date rape drug in their drinks at local nightclubs.

In each case the women started feeling dizzy, confused and nauseous within 15 minutes of ingesting drinks bought for them by unknown men.

Police said the symptoms are commonly associated with GHB – gamma-hydroxybutyric acid – also known as the date rape drug or liquid ecstasy.

The first incident was reported Oct. 20 after a victim and her friends were at a nightclub and had drinks bought for them by someone they didn’t know. Fifteen minutes after consuming the drink one of the women started hallucinating and feeling sick. She called her boyfriend to pick her up and reported the incident to police the next day.

Two more women reported severe memory loss after drinks were given to them by an unknown man Oct. 30. Two more 19-year-old women went to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital Nov. 6 after they had drinks purchased for them and felt sick, dizzy and confused immediately after drinking those. Both women in the last incident remembered little from the evening until early the next morning.

GHB has been used medically as a general anesthetic and to treat an array of medical conditions. It is odourless, tasteless and virtually undetectable when mixed with alcohol.

“There are two things we want to look at here,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman. “The first is we’re fortunate these assaults did not carry through to a sexual assault and, secondly, there’s a strong educational component here. Females in the bar – we’re never ones to tell them what not to do. They’re adults. They can make decisions on their own. There are, however, some consequences associated with that. One is, if you’re accepting drinks from people you don’t know, you don’t know what’s in the drink.”

Police are not saying which nightclubs the incidents happened in, but O’Brien said if five cases have been reported it’s likely more incidents that have occurred. As for possible sexual assaults related to GHB ingestion, O’Brien said very few sexual assaults are ever reported to police. Investigators are reviewing video surveillance from the establishments in which the reported incidents occurred.

Anyone with information about these or similar incidents is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.