Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It Can Happen to You

Note: This post is my TNH column for today. I decided to rewrite and formalize my last piece about the recent roofying incidences because I felt it was important to receive a wider audience. I rewrote parts of the intro and conclusion and extended some details so I felt the need to republish it on the blog. Thanks.

In a perfect world this type of column would not be necessary for college students, because we have all heard the warnings, been through health classes and probably seen “The Hangover,” but after a few recent events it appears a small PSA might be necessary.

In a perfect world students could go out and have fun without having to worry what is in their drink, or whether or not someone is being friendly or has a secret agenda. But this is not a perfect world.

When you go out at night, whether to the bar or to a party, please be smart about your drinks. Over the past few weeks, there have been two incidents where a friend or an acquaintance of mine has been roofied, or at least there was an attempt. Luckily neither attempt was 100 percent successful, and the worst that happened was a minor brownout and some vomit. Let me explain.

The first incident took place at Scorps a few weeks ago. One of my roommate’s friends had one drink in him when he drank his girlfriend’s drink because she didn’t want it. In a short time he began acting strange and completely out of it, which was weird because he had only had two drinks. The friends he was with took him to one of their nearby apartments, where he passed out and later woke up unsure of what had happened. Clearly, his girlfriend’s drink had been spiked, and luckily nothing serious happened as the result.

The second incident took place more this past weekend at Libby’s. A friend of ours foolishly accepted a drink from a guy because it was her birthday and she assumed he was just being friendly. When she returned to our friend’s table she put the drink down where one of my roommate’s accidentally drank part of it because it was the same type of drink he had. He thought it tasted a little weird, but didn’t think much of it.

Soon, and much like the first incident, he began acting weird as the night progressed. While at Kurt’s he suddenly did not recognize his girlfriend of over six months, but then quickly snapped out of it. He couldn’t understand why he had been so confused. Upon returning to our apartment he randomly punched another roommate quite hard in the shoulder, and then again snapped out if it. Apologizing and saying he had no idea why he just did that.

In the morning he remembered being at the bar and Kurt’s, but he did not remember being at our apartment or hitting our roommate. Clearly the drink was spiked, but it didn’t fully hit him as he faded in and out of being aware of his surroundings.

What we do know is that both girls who were “targeted” were small blondes, but obviously there is no way to find out if it was the same person or really anything else, because of how the situations and nights played out. In the first situation there must have been a quick slip that went unnoticed, while in the second situation our friend could not recall what the guy looked liked who handed her the drink.

There are a few simple tips that can help prevent situations like these from happening. There are always going to be jerks who break the law and try to drug people, so the best thing you can do is be prepared to lower the probability of it happening to you.

Obviously you should never accept a drink from someone you don’t know. Always keep your drink in your hand or directly in front of you if you are sitting down, and while standing hold your drink with the “claw” grip, covering the top with your palm and fingers. It won’t completely cover your drink, but it will make it much more difficult for someone to drop a pill in. As you get more drunk you are more likely to make stupid mistakes and dumb decisions, but really the best prevention is to simple make better decisions and watch out for your friends. Luckily both of these incidents turned out to be harmless considering their potential consequences, but it goes to show that stuff like this really does happen quite frequently.

Stay classy, not UMassy

1 comment:

  1. I'm pissed to think that this even happens at UNH