Date rape drugs in Trois-Rivières: “It’s scary”

“I have two kids, I’m not one to go and drink excessively or anything. I rarely go out,” says the Trois-Rivières native straight away. She reveals having ingested two glasses of white wine during the meal, then a few sips of beer and non-alcoholic drinks once at the pool table.

Blackout total”

The rest of the story, she no longer remembers. It was his friends who told him. After a few minutes, she would let them know that she wasn’t feeling well. “They took me, they took me outside, I was barely able to walk. I started vomiting everywhere and had a black out total afterwards,” she relates.

“I know there are several people who may have had access to our glasses. We were a little careless about that because they were shared tables between the pool tables. Sometimes we left our glasses lying around on the table where there were other people’s glasses.”

— Léa*, victim of GHB poisoning

Of course, she didn’t expect her evening to end this way. She spends the night suffering the consequences of the intoxication. “I had really excessive tremors, all over my body, my arms, my legs which were moving,” she reveals.

Knowing that the substance disappears quickly from the body, between 10 and 12 hours after its ingestion, her friends obtained a urine kit to try to see if she had been drugged. “I knew that I had been poisoned with GHB without my knowledge,” reports Léa.

“It’s scary,” she laments. “I don’t understand how men, and I imagine they were young men, but it’s just a guess, could be aroused by the state I was in.”

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Léa* plans to obtain anti-drug covers and coasters used to detect traces of GHB ketamine, which are distributed by certain organizations in the region. (François Gervais/Le Nouvelliste)

Since then, she has wondered if she would dare return to a bar in her hometown, where she no longer lives, or even consume alcohol again. One thing is certain, she plans to obtain anti-drug covers and coasters used to detect traces of GHB ketamine, which are distributed by certain organizations in the region.

“The best advice I have for girls going out is to always bring reliable friends with you. Because if I had been left there, after that, I would have been extremely easy prey to do anything.”

— Léa*, victim of GHB poisoning

File a complaint?

At the Trois-Rivières police, even if a few cases have made the headlines in recent years, we assure that the situation is under control and that we rarely call the service for this type of question. “It should be noted that this is done on a regular basis and that, danger, if you come to Trois-Rivières, you risk being poisoned, we are not there,” points out Luc Mongrain, spokesperson.

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Sergeant Luc Mongrain, spokesperson for the Trois-Rivières police. (Stéphane Lessard/Archives Le Nouvelliste)

Despite this, the latter admits that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to mount proof in an event like this. “I would tell you that there is no case, I believe, initiated by Trois-Rivières which resulted in a conviction of this level.”

“We do not deny that these events could have occurred, but to support proof in court, we really need the basic element which is confirmation […] that the person, we found this substance in his body,” continues the sergeant.

“Afterward, it’s the whole investigation part, trying to see if we have video images. Are we able to see which person? Because it’s so, let’s say easy, for a person with bad intentions to come and deposit this substance.”

— Luc Mongrain, spokesperson for the Trois-Rivières Police Department (DPTR)

Léa is of the same opinion, which is why she did not contact the investigators. “What does it give me to make a complaint? What will they do ? They can’t do anything, there were tons of people in the bar, it’s not possible to go and question all these people. “Finding evidence won’t work anyway,” she explains.

While it remains almost impossible to bring people who use date rape drugs to justice, are there ways to prevent poisoning? “The first precaution is always to have your glass under supervision,” explains Mr. Mongrain. “Despite everything, if it is the one who serves consumption who does it behind his back, again, it can happen at any time.”

Care available

Since December 2023, all emergency rooms in the province have been equipped with legal urine kits that can detect more than 200 substances, including GHB. It may therefore be advisable to go to the hospital if symptoms of poisoning are detected.

On site, nurses can carry out various medical maneuvers, such as administering a solution to help with rehydration, administering medications, or even taking blood to validate the presence of certain substances including GHB.

>>>Since December 2023, all emergency rooms in the province have been equipped with legal urine kits that can detect more than 200 substances, including GHB.>>>

Since December 2023, all emergency rooms in the province have been equipped with legal urine kits that can detect more than 200 substances, including GHB. (Stéphane Lessard/Archives Le Nouvelliste)

“It is important to note that the GHB screening test requires free and informed consent, therefore that the person is able to give consent,” specifies Kellie Forand, information officer at the CIUSSS de la Mauricie-et-du. -Central Quebec. “In the case of a person whose condition is significantly altered, it would not be possible for them to give consent and therefore proceed with the tests.”

This is partly where the crux of the problem lies, and precisely because the substance is called a “date rape drug”, it becomes difficult to grant consent once under its effects. As in Léa’s case, her friends offered to take her to the hospital, but she refused, even though she has no memory of it.

It should be added to this that the results of legal urine tests carried out in a health establishment can take several months before being communicated to the victim. These must first be analyzed by the Forensic Sciences and Forensic Medicine Laboratory.

“The results are a piece of evidence that could be used as part of a legal procedure if the person wishes to file a complaint,” continues the spokesperson for the CIUSSS MCQ. “In all cases, beyond our care regarding her intoxication and the tests, our team is there to support her in this situation.”

A specialized team

The Quebec government announced on Tuesday the establishment of a coordination unit to support police forces investigating cases where people have been drugged without their knowledge. The Forensic Sciences and Forensic Medicine Laboratory will receive $2.3 million to create this team.

The objective is for information to circulate adequately between the different actors in order to successfully detect whether places are particularly targeted or whether a substance is circulating in a given region.

* Fictitious first name

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