Calgary, AB,

Calgary Police Service, Alberta Health Services and Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse Urge Calgarians to Stay Safe this Summer

With summer here, Calgarians are heading out to celebrate the warmer weather with friends at many local establishments. The Calgary Police Service, Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse (CCASA) are partnering to share important information to keep celebrations safe and enjoyable.

Earlier this year, the Calgary Police Service seized a quantity of GHB, which has been labeled a date rape drug. The drug was found pre-mixed in containers with alcohol.

Although uncommon, there is the potential for drinks to be altered using drugs, including GHB, Rohypnol and Ketamine. These drugs can produce physical and behavioural symptoms in people affected by them, many of which look similar to someone intoxicated from alcohol alone.

AHS reminds Calgarians to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a drugging, in both their own selves, and in their friends. Symptoms include shallow breathing, extreme sleepiness, disorientation or confusion, difficulty standing or walking, as well as visual or auditory hallucinations.

Never hesitate to call 9-1-1 if your friend is unconscious, not breathing or is having a seizure.

If you notice that a friend’s behaviour is strange or they aren’t acting like themselves, check in with them, ask them if they are okay or help them get home safely. In addition, if you notice someone is experiencing similar symptoms to those listed above, don’t take advantage of that situation yourself and intervene if you notice your friends might take advantage.

Memory loss can be a part of any drug facilitated sexual assault. If you suspect you may have been assaulted but are feeling unsure, you can be seen up to five days after the incident by the Calgary Sexual Assault team (CSART). The CSART team of doctors and nurses work with CCASA 24 hours per day and seven days per week to make sure you are medically stable and well supported. The team is available through any emergency department or at the Sheldon M. Chumir Urgent Care Centre.

CCASA wants citizens to understand accountability. It is important to remember that the offenders who commit sexual assaults are 100 per cent responsible for these crimes. CCASA encourages people to take precautions to feel safe, but also wants you to know that if you or someone you know does experience a sexual assault it is not your fault.

If you have experienced a sexual assault call CCASA’s 24-Hour Support and Information Line at 403-237-5888 or go to the Sheldon M. Chumir Urgent Care Centre located at 1213 4 ST S.W. or nearest hospital and ask for the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART).