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The Northerner

Date Rape drugs pose threat


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I could barely speak. My head bobbled around as the taxicab bounced through downtown Dallas. I puked again. My friend made sure it landed in my purse instead of on the cab’s floor mats. I could barely open my eyes. I felt like I was slowly leaving the planet. When we stopped in front of the hotel, someone opened the door I was leaning on. I rolled out of the car and fell onto the concrete. Its coldness on my arms was a fleeting moment of relief from the dizzy dream world I was a part of.

Only 20 minutes prior, I was having a really good time. I was clicking around in my high heels with two of my best friends in the VIP section. We were giggling, tossing our hair, and relishing in the attention all around while sipping our free drinks in a club. After that, I have only a handful of sporadic memories. In the ambulance, I remember asking for the needle to be stuck in the back of my hand instead of the inside of my arm and someone saying, “she’s not responding.” I remember the nurse pulling out the catheter in the hospital. And I remember wanting to tell her to be careful when unsnapping the buckles on my shoes. (I like my shoes handled with care.) Lastly, I remember catching a glimpse of my dad as the doctor mentioned something about “GHB.”

“I knew it,” I thought. I was drugged that night, but I was lucky. I puked on myself. It doesn’t sound lucky, but it was.

Date rape drugs, such as Rohypnol, GHB and Ketamine, can cause women to pass out and become unconscious. They lose all recollection of the evening and can’t remember anything the next day. It is the epitome of an ideal setup for rape. And while statistics don’t always establish the number of rape cases that involve date rape drugs, the problem became so rampant that in 1996, Congress passed legislation. The Drug-Induced Rape Prevention and Punishment Act established federal penalties for dispensing controlled substances to victims without their consent.

What statistics do prove is that there are a startling number of rape cases on college campuses compared to other age groups. The American Association of University Women reports nearly 25 percent of college women are raped. Ninety percent of those cases involve alcohol use, and on a weekend like OU-Texas when getting drunk is half the fun, women (and sometimes men) need to be especially careful. Often, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey of 2005, victims are sexually assaulted by someone they know. Thirty-eight percent of perpetrators were a “friend.” No need to eye each friend suspiciously all night, but be aware that heavy drinking can cause people to do things they wouldn’t normally do sober. And drinking can cloud your own judgment, too.

I only had one full drink that Friday night last year. It’s how I knew something was really wrong. I started a second drink. I had a few sips, put it down and took a visit to the deejay’s booth. (I’m sure you already see the problem.) I picked my drink up where I left it and got halfway through before I felt the effect. The room started spinning and I began having a hard time understanding what was going on around me. And it wasn’t “drunk” that I was feeling. Immediately I turned to one of my friends.

“Somebody put something in my drink,” I told her firmly.

In less than five minutes, we were out of there and outside waiting for a cab to pick us up. My memory goes downhill from there, as date rape drugs often cause.

If you’re out and suddenly feeling very odd, some signs you may have been drugged include: unexpectedly feeling very drunk and you’re not quite sure how it happened, abnormal dizziness, feeling drowsy out of the blue and memory loss the next day.

If you are worried you or a friend has been drugged, react immediately. Find a safe place and contact police or a hospital. Let them know there are concerns of drug involvement. If you’ve been sexually assaulted or you’re not sure because of memory loss, there are sexual assault examinations, which collect evidence. It is recommended that you don’t shower or bathe, eat or drink, or wash your hands or clothes, or brush your teeth after the incident in order to keep evidence in tact.

But avoiding these situations is sometimes possible, even simple. First, pay attention to your surroundings. A free drink sounds nice until you’re in an ambulance. Don’t accept drinks from anyone. Bring your own drink if you can. If not, watch how your drink is being made. Hold your drink in toward your body and keep one hand over the opening. Keep it with you at all times, even in the disgusting bathroom. A little germ infiltration is better than ending the Dallas weekend in a hospital gown. (The socks are pretty cool, though.) Don’t drink anything that tastes or smells funny and avoid punch bowls and other community drinks.

I consider myself fairly smart, feisty and fiercely independent — not someone to be taken advantage of — but a little GHB later; I was a rag doll, incapable of giving a friend even my dad’s cell phone number, which I usually know by heart. So pay attention this weekend and keep an eye — even a drunk one — on all of your friends.

Raya-Gabrielle Ramsey Oklahoma Daily University of Oklahoma U-Wire

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
Date Rape drugs pose threat