A victim in this weekend’s double overdose inside 11th Ave’s Purr Lounge tells CHS that he and his fiance were targeted and drugged.
“Babe, I feel crazy,” Asher Rohan told his fiance James after his second drink of the evening just before midnight Saturday night.
Rohan was about to collapse to the floor of the lounge and stop breathing. Witnesses said James turned blue. Both men were treated by Seattle Fire medics and rushed to Harborview. Police interrogated him about what kind of drugs he had taken that night. But an emergency room doctor, Rohan says, told him there was no sign of heroin use and that the type of opiate that caused the overdose is common in drugs such as gamma hydroxybutyric — GHB, the date rape drug.
Last summer, police and Capitol Hill bars warned patrons after a string of reports of drugged drink incidents.
One doctor told Rohan he sees cases of GHB symptoms every weekend. Police early Sunday morning, Rohan says, weren’t particularly interested. “I was treated like a drug addict or a junkie,” Rohan said.
With James also feeling better, Rohan is back on his feet after recovering from the weekend’s ordeal and wants the police to investigate the dangerous drugging. He hopes Purr can provide surveillance video from the night to help identify a man he believes targeted the couple and laced their drinks when they left a friend at the table and went to the bar’s bathroom. Rohan also wants people to think twice about letting their drinks out of their sight — even with a friend at the table and even in a friendly bar like Purr.
“Just because it’s a gay bar — someplace we go to feel safe — doesn’t mean you can let your guard down,” Rohan said.
If you have information about the incident Saturday night or believe you may have been targeted in a similar way, call 911 to report it to police.
UPDATE 3/29/2017: Police say the incident was reported as a drug overdose and there is not yet record of it being investigated as an assault. Sgt. Sean Whitcomb tells CHS that the department’s protocol has changed following last summer’s concerns over drugged drinks. “Now, if there is every allegation of sexual assault, there will be an automatic collection of blood,” Whitcomb said. “Specifically, so we don’t lose an opportunity to gain potentially valuable evidence.” As for Saturday’s incident, Whitcomb said he did not yet have specifics on the case he could discuss but “if there is reason to believe that somebody is doing something felonious,” the victim needs to report the crime. A key part of the evidence in any investigation could be blood drawn at the hospital during the emergency response.
UPDATE 4/1/2017: Purr owner Barbie Roberts posted the following message on Facebook Friday. She gave CHS permission to share the update and new details about the circumstances surrounding last weekend’s incident.