Park City police investigate GHB overdoses at night club

Posted at 12:04 AM, Feb 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-24 02:04:54-05

PARK CITY, Utah -- In the last month at least five people have overdosed on GHB also known as the date rape drug. All five cases were at the same club in Park City.

Park City Live is a club on Main Street that hosts DJs and various concerts. Police have reported at least five people have overdosed while attending a show at the venue in the last month, another common denominator? According to police the type of music.

"It's kind of this techno electronic music, concerts that were seeing these types of overdoses." said Capt. Phil Kirk with Park City police.

On Jan. 17, Park City police responded to a call of a suspected overdose during a concert at Park City Live. While police were responding, two others in the venue suffered the same symptoms.

“Going into convulsions or passing out it's pretty serious effect on them,” Kirk said.

After being treated at Park City Medical Center, doctors determined the culprit was GHB- also known as the date rape drug.

A few weeks later, Feb. 12, two more concert attendees at Park City Live overdosed on the illegal drug.

"Basically it just makes you really drunk and just like with alcohol you get to a point where you are no longer breathing very well on your own or you may start to vomit and if you're unconscious and you vomit you can bring that in and kill you as well," said Dr. Kris Kemp, medical director of the emergency department at Park City Medical Center.

Kemp said people taking the drug willingly is not a new trend.

"It started out as a bodybuilder supplement. It helps increase growth hormone, or at least that's the theory. Unfortunately as with many interesting medications they get abused and it's found that you can get really drunk when you combine it with other substances including alcohol,” Kemp said.

Dr. Kemp said GHB by itself isn't as dangerous as it is when mixed with other substances.

In many cases it’s mixed with alcohol, which increases the likelihood of an overdose.

"But ultimately it's playing with fire because there is such a narrow window between intoxication and completely unconscious and not moving,” Kemp said.

Park City police are working with club management on better security procedures and there’s a possibility the club could be held liable.

“We are working with the general manager to get his security staff to do bag checks and purse checks to check for drugs and then we're going to do some more with our department to have officers in either uniform or undercover plainclothes checking for drug uses too,” Kirk said.

Park City Live could not be reached for comment.