Woman claims she was drugged while at Halifax club
HALIFAX -- Last weekend, 20-year-old Josée Saulnier was celebrating her birthday in downtown Halifax when she became ill at the second bar she and her friends visited that night.
“Something was wrong, and something was different. So, I went outside to go throw up and while I was throwing up, I started crying,” says Saulnier. “I'm not an emotional person, I don't cry when I drink and stuff like that.”
Saulnier’s friends took her back to the Airbnb where they were staying.
“I kept throwing up and that's when my body started to tremor,” says Saulnier. “My entire body started to tremor and I was scratching. I was scratching my leg, and I was grabbing my friends and I was like, ‘No, call 911, we have to, something is wrong.’”
Paramedics soon arrived. Saulnier says she had difficulty moving her legs and notes she experienced difficulty walking two days later.
“They [legs] were stuck, they were on the floor, and they really need to push me to move to go in the ambulance and they had a lot of trouble,” says Saulnier.
Saulnier was taken to hospital and released the next morning, but she returned to the hospital soon after experiencing continued vomiting and double-vision.
Now, almost a week later, Saulnier says she is doing better.
Halifax Regional Police are investigating, but do not keep statistics on potential drugging incidents at bars.
“The primary concern is going to be their safety, and that they contact the police so we're aware of the situation and can investigate it thoroughly,” says Halifax Regional Police Const. John MacLeod.
Saulnier says she kept a close watch of her drink all night long.
“It doesn't matter how careful you are,” says Saulnier. “I was very careful.”
"There have been initiatives that demonstrate when bars take action,” says Jackie Stevens, executive director of the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre. “So, if they're really screening in terms of security, training their staff, heightening awareness around the risks of drug and alcohol-facilitated sexual assault, that screening people in terms of what they're bringing into the bar -- those are the kinds of initiatives that would also greatly reduce this continuing to happen.”
In light of the incident, Saulnier is grateful her friends were with her at the bar.
“Thank God I went home with them, thank God they were there,” she says.
Meanwhile, Saulnier says she may never know what happened to cause her to become ill as she wasn’t given any testing when she first arrived in hospital.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority says its main priority upon arrival is treatment and safe detoxification.