Heads up!

Learn from the experiences of other Canadian travellers

Mike and Nancy, a young newlywed Canadian couple on a South American vacation, decide to drop by a nightclub to have a few drinks and unwind after a long day travelling from their home in Winnipeg. They have great evening, dancing to the local music and chatting about the sights they plan to visit over the coming days. Near the end of the evening, Nancy heads to the washroom to freshen up, leaving Mike at the bar with her purse. Mike gets a tap on the shoulder and turns around to be greeted by a stranger who asks for directions around town. Mike takes a minute to explain that he is a tourist and cannot help, and turns back around to continue sipping his drink. 

A few minutes later, Nancy returns from the washroom to find her husband disoriented and confused – and sees that her purse has been opened and that her wallet and passport are gone. 

Scopolamine, also called Burundanga, and other “knock out” or incapacitating drugs are used by criminals to drug and rob unwary victims. They are often delivered in liquid form and can incapacitate a victim in three to five seconds. Incidents involving these drugs have occurred in all kinds of neighbourhoods at all times of the day, but happen most often at night. Don’t go to nightclubs alone. These incidents occur much less often when people visit nightclubs in groups. If you are out at a nightclub, try to watch your drink being prepared and never leave your drink unattended even for a few seconds. 

When preparing to travel abroad, be sure to read up on the sights and how to stay safe. For more information on staying safe abroad, visit our Country travel advice and advisories.

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