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L&rsquo ;arrival of date rape drug detection kits in emergency rooms welcomed

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Quebec authorities say that these kits will make it easier for victims of unknowing poisoning to report sexual attackers to the police and, above all, better support them.

Radio-Canada

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Everywhere in Quebec, women convinced of having been intoxicated without their knowledge are delighted that emergencies are now equipped with kits to even detect traces of drugs in urine. Resident of the region, Camille Tremblay is one of them.

The young woman firmly believes she was intoxicated with a date rape drug last winter.

I went out to the bar with friends, the rest I don't really remember unfortunately. I only remember when I woke up in the ambulance, she confides.

What happened between the two was told to him by witnesses. Employees of the establishment allegedly led her to the toilet after finding her asleep, with traces of vomit, on a table. They communicated with his family.

It's really blurry. There are bits that I remember. My mother comes to the bathroom. It seems to me that I'm just saying, ambulance, ambulance.

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When she arrived at the emergency room, she discovered, disappointed, that there was no screening procedure for this type of poisoning. Even if she hadn't been attacked, she would have liked to find out the truth.

Women who experience the same situation in the future will, however, be able to find out for sure, since kits capable of detecting nearly 200 substances in urine, including gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), known as the drug of rape, have been available since Friday in all hospitals in Quebec.

People who suspect they are under the influence of drugs can go to any emergency triage and ask for a kit. However, you must act quickly, before the traces in the urine fade. GHB can no longer be detected after 10 or 12 hours, for example.

This way of proceeding will facilitate the process of filing a complaint in the event of sexual assault.

Hospital centers are supposed to direct the person to the right resources for them following possible attacks and also direct the person, if they wish, to a police complaint. For us and for the victims, it can reduce the workload, explains Tanya Lapointe, prevention and communications officer for the Saguenay police department.

We can more easily support the victim, give them the right resources and the right ways of doing things.

A quote from Tanya Lapointe, prevention and communications officer for the Saguenay Police Department

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The spokesperson for the Saguenay Police Department, Tanya Lapointe.

Since the end of the pandemic, cases of involuntary poisoning have increased in the media. To know if there are more cases of poisoning or if there are more people who are seeking support. We hope that there are more people who will seek support because it is certain that since #metoo, unreported sexual assaults, people are turning more to resources like ours, underlines Christine Audet, speaker at CALACS du Saguenay.

If Camille Tremblay would have liked to obtain tangible proof of her intoxication, it is partly to refute the people around her who claim that she had probably drunk too much. There is judgment too. They say: "maybe she just overindulged in alcohol, maybe she was just really drunk," she believes.

These prejudices are also reflected in cases of sexual assault, according to Christine Audet. For example, it is not uncommon for people to point the finger at women's clothing to explain the crimes of which they are victims.

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Christine Audet, speaker at CALACS de Saguenay

These myths are present in the entire population, whether you are a citizen, a nurse, a police officer, everyone can be brought to carry prejudices. It's important to work on yourself and after that to raise awareness among others.

A quote from Christine Audet, speaker at CALACS du Saguenay.

We know very well that it is the person who attacks who crosses the barriers, and not the woman who wears a skirt, she concludes.

Based on a report by Laurie Gobeil

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