In her recent interview with CBC News, Montrealer Rozana Ryan discussed her two experiences being drugged in Montreal bars which took place within six months of each other. According to Ryan, the first time, the drug left her immobilized, and she was conscious but unable to move. However, the second time, she was unconscious for significant periods of time.
“I couldn’t stay straight,” she said. “It’s so scary.” Ryan’s friend took her home, and she later woke up in her bed. However, subsequently, she lost consciousness again in her bathroom for four hours.
Moreover, Ryan has not filed a complaint with the police yet because she says she feels anxious about the incident. She called Quebec’s medical help line for advice and was recommended to drink lots of water and rest.
“Different [date rape] drugs can be used, but unfortunately the majority of them are cheap and easily accessible,” said Gabrielle Comtois of Regroupement québécois des centres d’aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel (RQCALACS). Moreover, she added that these drugs are often colourless and odourless, making it difficult or impossible for the victim to detect them before ingesting them.
“Typically the victim wakes up in an environment or with a feeling that suggests a sexual assault has occurred, but the victim is often unable to recall it, which makes it difficult to then report it,” Comtois said. In addition, RQCALACS has previously stated that 15% of sexual assaults reported in the province are related to the use of drugs and other substances.
In February, Quebec police reported having carried out a large-scale drug bust that included the arrest of several suspects., including 77 litres of gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), commonly referred to as the “date rape” drug.
Furthermore, according to Quebec’s Health Ministry, testing for GHB needs to be carried out within six hours of ingestion for blood testing, and in urine for up to 12 hours. Adding further complications to GHB detection, only specialized labs are able to process the tests.
“When you see a girl pass out, don’t assume she drank too much,” said Ryan. “It’s an aggression,” she added. “It’s so scary to think — I am 22, but there are girls who are 18 — your first experience at a bar could be you get spiked and passed out.”