'Date rape' drug suspected in HR

Hood River City Police suspect that a "date rape" drug has been used at area pubs.

Capt. Kevin Lynch said that suspicion began during recent development of a sexual assault case. Although he would not reveal further details, Lynch said there is a very real possibility that either the drug Rohypnol (Roofies) or Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate (GHB) may have been used locally to lace the drinks of unsuspecting women during the past two years. Both drugs have been banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are distributed through the underground market.

Lynch is investigating all available data and has asked women who think they may have been victimized to call his direct line at 387-5255. All calls are confidential and can be made anonymously if preferred.

"We need you to call if you even have a little information or know of other people who reported feeling lethargic or had trouble remembering events after they were out in a social setting," he said.

When combined with alcohol, Lynch said both drugs are odorless, colorless and tasteless. He said they can quickly produce a rapid and dramatic "high," that can impair judgment, motor skills, and bring memory loss or even blackouts.

He said it is imperative that possible victims of these drugs be tested by their doctor or local hospital within 60 hours after a suspected encounter. If victims believe they have been sexually assaulted, they should get a physical examination done as well.

"These drugs produce a 'dreamlike' state for the victim who may not be sure whether her experience was real and, because she doesn't really understand what happened to her, may feel embarrassed and blame herself," said Lynch.

Rohypnol is the brand name of a sleeping pill and sedative prescribed for insomnia in Mexico, South America, Europe and Asia. It belongs to the same medicinal family as Valium, Librium and Xanax. Sedation can occur as soon as 20 minutes after ingestion and the victim can appear to be drunk, display no coordination, have blood-shot eyes and slurred speech. Other adverse effects include visual disturbances, drowsiness, confusion, decreased blood pressure, memory impairment, gastrointestinal disturbances and urinary retention. When mixed with alcohol, Roofies can cause respiratory depression, aspiration or even death.

According to law enforcement officials, GHB is less widely used for date rape but is considered by the FDA to be extremely dangerous because one of its key ingredients is floor stripper. The synthetic product was originally created in the 1980s and purchased over-the-counter in foreign markets by body builders as an anabolic steroid alternative. It is banned in the United States and has side effects that are similar to Roofies, although it can greatly weaken the victim.

"I'm looking for any information I can get about possible predators," said Lynch.

Date rape drugs: Precautions

Hood River City Police Capt. Kevin Lynch recommends that women take the following three precautions when drinking any beverage in a public setting:

* Watch your drink, do not leave it unattended.

* Watch out for each other, if you start to feel disoriented tell someone you know and don't leave with a stranger.

* Avoid punch bowls and don't accept opened drinks.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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