Pubdate: Tue, 14 Dec 2004
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 The Province
Author: Ian Austin and David Carrigg


Father Of Two Charged After Unconscious Child Rushed To Hospital

A three-year-old girl is recovering after drinking water laced with
the date-rape drug GHB from her dad's water bottle.

"He left it sitting out without any regard for the three-year-old who
was playing nearby," said Vancouver Const. Anne Drennan. "It was a
completely irresponsible act."

The 33-year-old father of two went to a party Saturday night -- police
say GHB is fast becoming the drug of choice at house parties -- and
brought home the GHB-laden drink. He left it where the child was able
to reach it.

About 9 a.m. Sunday the infant had a seizure.

When the father told his wife what the toddler might have imbibed, she
immediately phoned 911.

"The mother called 911 after the baby began to choke, and had what
they believe was a seizure," said Drennan.

The unconscious child was rushed to Children's Hospital. She improved
dramatically and police said she may soon be released.

Police charged the man with criminal negligence. It is not illegal to
possess the drug, which is a controlled substance and may not be sold
legally. Police did not release the man's name to protect his
daughter's identity.

GHB -- gamma hydroxybutyrate -- is used not only as a date-rape drug,
but also as a sexual enhancer and a workout enhancer.

Const. Scott Rintoul, the RCMP's drug awareness officer, said the
potentially lethal drug has also gripped Vancouver's house-party scene.

He said some young women take the drug because it has similar effects
to alcohol, with no calories or hangover.

"We are hearing lots of reports of house parties where inside the
fridge door there's a glass container with GHB in it mixed with water
and it's basically help yourself," Rintoul said. "There's no quality
control so you don't know what the concentrations are and, if you
ingest too much, you'll pass out."

Rintoul said partygoers often place a glow-stick or food colouring in
the GHB-laden water to identify that the water is laced.

However, in the little girl's case it would likely have made no

"A little girl is going to look at coloured water and think it's
Gatorade," Rintoul said. "She's lucky to be alive."

Vancouver police issued a warning to nightclubbers last July after a
string of GHB druggings, including a man who was found unconscious on
the floor of a nightclub washroom.

GHB appeared in Vancouver in the early 1990s among bodybuilders. It
was outlawed by the federal government in 1998, following a similar
move in the U.S. a few years earlier after authorities linked the drug
to at least 60 In the U.S., GHB overdoses are now more common than
ecstacy overdoses.
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