Dangers of date rape drugs re-emerge after deadly shooting spree at Birmingham bar

Needle spiking in city and country bars has sparked new concerns in Alabama in the wake of a deadly October 2017 shooting spree at a downtown Tuscaloosa nightclub. According to allegations laid out in…

Dangers of date rape drugs re-emerge after deadly shooting spree at Birmingham bar

Needle spiking in city and country bars has sparked new concerns in Alabama in the wake of a deadly October 2017 shooting spree at a downtown Tuscaloosa nightclub.

According to allegations laid out in an updated federal indictment against three men accused of murdering a man at a Birmingham-area bar, the shooting in October was motivated in part by the alleged use of date rape drugs at the venue. The indictment alleges that Dexter Jackson, Antonio Coleman and Troy Robinson injected victim Dominic Dollaway with a date rape drug, unknown to him, before shooting him nine times as Dollaway attempted to fight back. Dollaway was treated at a hospital and survived, but died the following day.

All three defendants in the case are being held without bond on multiple charges including murder, kidnapping and obstruction of justice, and their trial is scheduled to begin April 24 in Birmingham.

Dollaway’s father is shocked and outraged that something like this could have happened in their hometown and said he’s had little insight into the people behind the shooting — even though all three were allegedly involved with one another at the time.

“They’re a small group of people who happened to get shot together, and we don’t know why,” he said. “Why they turned on me and Dante?”

One anonymous confidential source told AL.com that in Tuscaloosa, where Bottletree Nightclub is located, date rape drugs are prevalent in “society” and that people routinely spike drinks for things like dates. One local safety expert said that part of the bar scene has changed over the years with every new dance trend.

“You’ve got to be careful in this community. There are different kinds of drugs, different things that people take,” George Dixon Jr., a community safety consultant in Tuscaloosa, told FoxNews.com. “If someone isn’t cool with you asking what they took or give you a reason, that’s one thing. If they offer something in a drink — date rape, liquor poisoning — that’s something else.”

Dixon said many bartenders don’t want to risk antagonizing business by asking questions, and he suggests asking the bartender what he thinks is at the top of the list of possible drugs people have consumed recently. Dixon explained that it’s more common for women to pop a date rape drug as opposed to men who are less comfortable talking to a stranger about their addictions.

But in Alabama, incidents like those at Bottletree are rare. According to the most recent U.S. National Drug Data System data for 2015, none of the more than 2,200 prescription drugs or illegal substances reported that drugs containing any kind of date rape drugs were being used at a Tuscaloosa bar. According to the CDC, only six percent of emergency department (ED) visits were associated with use of date rape drugs in 2015 — a decrease from 2014 when just eight percent of ED visits were believed to be related to use of date rape drugs.

The CDC also reported that out of 1,692 cases of ED visits due to prescription drugs in 2015, no cases of prescription drugs containing any kind of date rape drugs were detected.

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