Elisa Lam Video Analyzed, Drug Use Suggested But Not Proven

Kim LaCapria - Author

Jun. 16 2013, Updated 11:22 p.m. ET

The video of Eliza Lam in what are her final known moments (police aren’t sure yet what transpired between the CCTV capture of her attempt to get an elevator to work and the discovery of her corpse in a hotel water tank weeks later) has captivated and creeped out much of the internet, given Lam’s strange and visibly “off” behavior in her last sighting.

The Elisa Lam video surfaced after the Canadian student’s death was discovered, but what we don’t know is what happened between that moment and her death. It’s possible Lam survived longer, and what occurs on camera is perhaps a source of further confusion rather than an elucidation.

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Watching Elisa Lam in the three to four minute video, posted on YouTube, it’s clear that something is amiss — and all sorts of possibilities spring to mind. One is a break with reality in the form of a nervous breakdown, for instance, given that the broken elevator seems to stall the young woman in confusion for quite some time.

Another is more worrying, as it appears Lam is interacting with or hiding from someone — given a lack of audio, this perception could be off, but given the circumstances of her death, the possibility it is accurate is chilling. The last is the influence of a chemical substance, which is perhaps an unfair assumption given we don’t know if Lam survived for days after the bizarre video was recorded or even if she was known to partake in recreational drugs.

LA Weekly, local to the Elisa Lam case, spoke with one expert on club culture who posited that Lam may have been under the influence of ecstasy as she is filmed in the unsettling surveillance footage. Described as a longtime club-drug expert formerly of the LAPD, Trinka Porrata viewed the clip and offered a possibility for Lam’s visibly strange behavior in the video — though she admits it is “hard to say” for sure.

The piece reads:

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“She’s ‘petting’ something and then dancing a bit. Could be an Ecstasy pill that contains MDMA plus some other hallucinogen. Getting into the corner of the elevator and looking out repeatedly could seem like paranoia or just part of her hallucination. Hard to say from just that little bit.”

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Porrata adds:

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“Even harder of course to guess whether it was something she took voluntarily or was slipped to her. Ecstasy IS considered a rape drug but so many pills called Ecstasy so often is a mixture or something else completely that they don’t get the desired effects for a sexual assault.”

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While Elisa Lam could have been under the influence of MDMA or ecstasy, Porrata says that the water tank bit doesn’t mesh with what she knows about use of the drug, calling it “a weird place to end up,” with the caveat Lam may have been forced to go there.

The expert also said that PCP, a less common drug, “has a tendency to ‘attract’ people to water.” Toxicology reports on Elisa Lam are pending, and the results of the investigation will take several weeks to process.


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