Many of you will be going on Vac pretty soon, it is a time for fun, sun and forgetting about exams. With this fun, there is inevitably alcohol. Nothing wrong with having a drink or two as long you are not driving right?
Unfortunately, there are some people who are all too willing to take advantage of young people having fun and being out at night. One of the big dangers we face in clubs (no matter what our age or experience) is those who spike drinks and food. There are many diabolical reasons why they do it, sexual assault, rape, robbery etc. sometimes it is as simple as seeing what effect it has on the other person. Some people even spike their friend’s drink just to liven up the party. The sad thing is that these people are often unaware of the consequences of what they are doing. It is not only a criminal offence but it can endanger someone’s life.
Sadly not many young people report having their drinks spikes so there are not many statistics to work off. We do know that young women are more likely to have their drinks spiked by stranges where guys are more likely to have a friend spike their food.
It is, obviously, illegal but also very dangerous. There are many life long problems that can be caused by a spiked drink.
So what is used to spike food and drink?
The most common is alcohol. If you are partying sober you are more at risk of someone adding a shot of alcohol to your drink without you knowing. Having a drink, however, does not keep you safe from this. Someone might just decide to add another shot to your drink or even add it into your beer. Secondly is Rohypnol or Roofie (also know as green beans in some areas in SA).
Many other prescription drugs can be used, barbituates, anti-histamines, tranquillizers like Valium and muscle relaxants to name just a few. Eye drops have also been used lately if you can believe that. Of course, there are illegal drugs like ketamine, LSD, MDMA and GHB that are used.
How do I know if my drink has been spiked?
The effects of drink spiking vary depending on what you’ve been spiked with. Your symptoms could include
- Lowered inhibitions
- Loss of balance
- Visual problems
- Having trouble breathing
There are many factors to take into account when looking at your symptoms, your overall health and any other medications you are taking being some of it. Most drugs used like this take around 15 – 30 minutes to take effect.
I have been drugged, now what?!
- Find a friend or someone you trust!
- Tell a bar manager, bouncer or a member of staff
- Go to a safe place (like the manager’s office) with your friend and keep talking
- Call an ambulance if your condition gets worse
- Don’t let them go home on your own
- If you do want to leave the venue without getting medical attention, make sure a friend takes you home and stays with you, do not go home alone
- If possible, don’t drink any more alcohol as this could lead to more serious problems
- If you are planning on letting the police or EMT know what happened, try to preserve any potential evidence. This will help them figure out what was used to drug you.
I cannot stress how important it is not to be alone after you have been drugged. There are many things that could happen such as vomiting, loss of balance and hallucinations that could cause you a lot of harm if no one is there to take care of you. Make sure you have a close friend or family member that you trust with you until you feel better.
This is scary stuff! How can I stop it from happening?
The most important things to do are never leave your drink unattended, never accept a drink from somebody you don’t know and don’t drink anything that you didn’t see being poured.
If you are buying a drink that comes in a bottle, drink from the bottle. It is easy to add a liquid drug to the glass without anyone knowing. Don’t swap drinks!
Also, be aware that any drink can be spiked at any time. Whether you are out clubbing with friends, having coffee or just a glass of water.
These methods are not fail-safe and it is up to you to be vigilant. If you feel strange, sleepy or dizzy find your friends and get to a safe spot. Also, be aware of the people around you, if anyone makes you feel uneasy or is being pushy, grab your friends and move away.
We wish you a safe, fun vac!