Strips for detecting spiked drinks will soon be on sale at Selkirk College’s bookstores. Photo: Thinkstock/Getty Images

Selkirk College selling drug detection kits

The kits are part of the college’s sexual violence prevention program

Textbooks, stationery and drug detection kits.

The first two items are already available at Selkirk College bookstores, and the third will soon be for sale to students as part of a sexual violence prevention initiative.

The kits, which detect drugs such as ketamine, Rohypnol and GHB are already on sale at the Castlegar campus. Orders have also been placed for Nelson’s Silver King and Tenth Street campuses.

Selkirk’s healthy campus advisor Leslie Comrie said although the college does not have its own pub, and therefore doesn’t sell alcohol on its campuses, there is a demand for the kits.

“We experience the same number of reports per capita that any other university or college does, and some of those reports have involved drink spiking,” she said.

A spokesperson with the Nelson Police Department told the Star it receives four-to-five reports of spiked drinks each year, although police believe it is also an under-reported offence.

The kits consist of three to five strips that can be dipped in a drink and will change colour if drugs are detected.

Comrie said the kits are being introduced following October’s sexual violence prevention month at the college. She said research has shown the first six to eight weeks of the fall semester are when sexual violence is most likely to occur.

She’s not sure why that is, but guessed it is related to new students.

“There tends to be lots of parties and all of that traditional exploring your newfound behaviours,” said Comrie. “Some of those behaviours can put people in dangerous situations.”

Comrie was appointed healthy campus advisor by the college in 2016 after the provincial government passed the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy Act, which requires public post-secondary institutions to have a sexual misconduct policy.

Comrie worked on that policy, and has helped introduce other preventative measures such as a 90-minute bystander training class that teaches students how to safely interrupt racist or sexist conversations.

She said she’s noticed a change in tone from students about sexual violence since accepting the position.

“You’d bring up the topic and everyone would leave the room, to now it’s more, ‘Yeah, we need to talk about this and we need to do more about this,’ ” she said. “Honestly, the women are engaged in that conversation but there’s many more men who are also standing up and being engaged as well.”

Related:

Selkirk sexual assault policy kicks in

Their stories: sexual assault on Nelson campuses



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

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