CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A Charlotte woman claiming to have been roofied at a popular uptown Charlotte bar is sharing her story hoping to bring attention to a problem she believes is more widespread than what’s being talked about.
“Apparently my eyes rolled into the back of my head and I started shaking,” said Leah McGurik, describing the night she believes her drink was drugged.
McGurik said it happened May 12 around 11 p.m. when she arrived at Rooftop 210 in Epicentre.
McGurik said her friends were already there so she stopped at the main bar to grab a drink before finding them. McGurik said the bar was packed.
“There were people all around me, there was a guy to the left of me, a guy to the right of me, people behind me,” she said.
After paying, McGurik met up with her friends. But roughly 20 minutes later, she said she started feeling dizzy and nauseous and then fell to the floor.
“I just felt that really desperate sense that you feel when you’re sick and you just need to lie down or almost like you’re going to throw up. My vision started to go out and I began hearing this weird crackling sound in my ears,” she said.
McGurik said a friend took her home and watched after her.
“I don’t know what would have happened to me if my friends wouldn’t have been there,” she said.
But before you head out with your friends, you’ll want to know this: there have been six additional cases of drugged victims at the Epicentre in 2018, CMPD said. Police say two were sexually assaulted, one they say was raped.
And if you think this only happens to women, think again. In March, an Air National Guardsman at his bachelor party at Strike City told CMPD he too blacked out after just one drink. The police report said his blood test the next morning was positive for the date-rape drug.
“Those agents are typically fast acting, they dissolve colorless, they’re odorless, tasteless, so you won’t know if it’s in your drink out not,” said Dr. Norman Spencer, a victims advocate with Safe Alliance.
Dr. Spencer said not only are the drugs fast acting, but they’re fast to leave your body, making it hard for victims to know for sure if they were drugged and why so few are reported. He also said because they are so fast acting, people who have been drugged are oftentimes mistaken for being overserved or just really drunk.
From early on, most women are taught not to accept drinks from strangers and to keep your drink with you at all times. But McGurik said she only took her eyes off her glass for a few seconds as she searched for her wallet in her oversized purse. She said her drink was always right of her on the bar.
In an email to NBC Charlotte, Rooftop 210’s general manager, Tyler Wogenstahl said in a statement:
“We have been working closely with CMPD since our inception to ensure the safety of our patrons. In addition to our own security we hire off duty police. Rooftop 210 has reputation of being a safe environment. We will continue to make safety a priority."
McGurik said since taking her story public, she’s heard from more than a dozen people who say they too were drugged at bars across the Queen City.
Sign up for NBC Charlotte’s 5 Things to Know newsletter and get the latest in your inbox each morning!