Drug theft from Halifax hospital a suspected inside job

Halifax police say sedatives that can be used as a date rape drug have been stolen from the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre over the past three weeks.

Midazolam is a benzo that can be used as a sedative before anesthesia

Sixteen vials of midazolam are missing from Queen Elizabeth II hospital. (CBC)

A Halifax hospital is missing sedatives that can be used as a date rape drug.

Halifax police say the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre contacted them on Aug. 14.

Sixteen vials holding five millilitres each of the drug midazolam, a benzodiazepine used as a sedative before anesthesia is administered for surgery, are believed to be stolen from different floors of the Halifax Infirmary.

Police say midazolam can also be used as a date rape drug because it's soluble, odourless, tasteless and colourless. It also causes short term memory loss.

Capital Health spokesperson John Gillis says they first noticed the drug thefts Aug. 5. (CBC)

"So during that time that you were under the influence of the drug you would likely have no recollection of what happened the next day," said pharmacist Andrew Buffett.

Police say the vials were stolen one by one from hospital crash carts found all over the building. They were not locked up.

Capital Health spokesperson John Gillis says they first noticed the thefts Aug. 5 and tried to catch the culprit themselves. When the thefts kept happening, they called police.

He says they believe it was an inside job.

"A person who knew what they were looking for would be able to pull that off I guess," he said.

A police release on the matter says even if someone drank alcohol or willingly took drugs, they are not at fault for being assaulted.

"You cannot ‘ask for it’ or cause it to happen," says the release.

Police offered tips to follow to reduce the risk of someone slipping something into a drink:

  • Know where your drink is coming from: watch your drink being poured by a professional bar staff or pour your drink yourself. Don’t share drinks or accept a drink from someone you don’t know.
  • Watch your drink: keep your drink with you at all times, even when you go to the bathroom.
  • If you realize you’ve left your drink unattended, pour it out.
  • Don't drink anything that tastes, smells, or looks strange.
  • If you feel drunk and haven't drunk any alcohol, or, if you feel like the effects of drinking alcohol are stronger than usual, or if you feel you have been drugged, get help right away.
  • When you are out drinking, don't leave with strangers or people you don't feel comfortable with.

Police urge people to seek medical help if they believe they have been drugged or sexually assaulted.

The Avalon Centre's sexual assault nurse examiners are available 24 hours a day at 902-425-0122.