Protect Your Drink, Protect Yourself

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Posted Sun, Mar 17, 2013

1 in 4 women in 2006 believed they had been the victim of a "date rape" drug in the United Kingdom.  In America it is prominent in 2013 but United States statistics lack definitive information.

UNHAPPY HOUR: 1 in 4 women in 2006 believed they had been the victim of a “date rape” drug.  Photo by Ashley Hattle

DENVER–A night on the town can quickly turn into a nightmare for men and women, when their drinks are left unattended. We quickly forget how easy it is for a predator to slip a “date rape” drug into a cocktail.

You may lose yourself in a good song and leave your drink unattended to go dance, or get lost in conversation and not see the fizz at the bottom of your drink. Fortunately, there are several ways and several products to protect yourself against these predatory drugs.

From bottle stoppers to lip gloss, there are multiple options for lessening the chance of your drink being spiked. While the most effective way to be safe is to always carry your drink with you and make sure that you yourself opened the bottle or can, it is not always an option to watch your drink at all times. For those times when your drink must leave your sight, there is the Drink Safe Coaster, the Topp Stoppa, the 2 Love My Lips test strips, and coming in January 2014, the DrinkSavvy cups and straws.

The Drink Safe Coaster is a product that should be readily available at every bar in America. These coasters come with two tester spots, so one coaster can be used to test two drinks, or even the same drink two separate times.

Drink Safe Coaster

Drink Safe Coaster

The Topp Stoppa is a bottle stopper created in the United Kingdom (U.K.) for beer bottles to protect against predatory drugs. Simply flip the “stoppa” onto the beer bottle to protect your beer from being spiked or tampered with. The Topp Stoppa cannot be bought individually, but can be distributed in bulk to any business.

2 Love My Lips is another U.K. Company that is working to make the public more aware of the dangers of drink spiking. 2 Love My Lips is offering a free lip gloss and drink spike detector kit with the purchase of one of their lip glosses.

DrinkSavvy is a company created by Mike Abramson that has been working on creating straws and cups that detect date rape drugs.

DrinkSavvy Plastic Cups

DrinkSavvy Plastic Cups

“Our main goal is to ensure that anyone that wants a DrinkSavvy product can have access to them,” Abramson said. “This is why we will be providing samples free to numerous rape crisis centers.”

The plastic cups look like your average plastic cup, but when a date rape drug is introduced, red vertical lines appear all around the cup alerting the person that the drink has been tampered with. The straws do the same thing as the cups, and both the cups and straws can be used repeatedly until a drug is detected. These DrinkSavvy products will be available to the public in January 2014.

Common Date Rape Drugs and Side Effects

All of these innovative products can help immensely to protect against date rape drugs, but it is important to know the side effects and attributes of major “date rape” drugs also. The most common “date rape” drugs are Rohypnol and GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate.) Both of these drugs quickly dissolve and can be easily slipped into an unsuspecting drink. Rohypnol, often called a “roofie,” is a small white pill that may be dropped into a drink to dissolve, it also can be crushed or it may even come in liquid form. GHB is usually a clear liquid that can be slipped into a drink as well.

The side effects of Rohypnol and GHB are often the same, they include drowsiness, dizziness and disorientation. Losing four to 10 hours of memory after ingesting Rohypnol is very common. These drugs can often feel just like being drunk, victims often think they feel so terrible because they’ve drank too much.

“I think unless you know that you’ve been roofied then you probably just think you’re passing out from alcohol,” said one anonymous victim.

“In general with people that we have come in, they just know internally that something’s wrong,” said Jacki Fiegl, an MSU Senior who works at the Phoenix Center in Tivoli suite 227. The Phoenix Center provides confidential support and information for victims of sexual assault and violence.

The first five to 10 minutes after ingesting a “date rape” drug are very important. It’s at this time that the drink owner may be able to realize what is happening and get to a safe place or safe company. After those first crucial moments memory loss usually occurs for several hours. When the drug wears off victims may not realize they have actually been drugged. The after effects can feel like a hangover, feelings of nausea, dehydration and disorientation.

“I got really sick [the next morning] and threw up everything I ate and felt really dehydrated, I had mixed it with alcohol so I had mostly just felt hungover,” said an anonymous victim.

Who Would Do This? 

It is not usually the person you would expect to spike your drink that does. They could seem endearing and non-threatening, so it is important for friends to look out for one another.

“All and all, I guess I was shocked. It wasn’t the old creepy guy that everyone thinks about when they get drugged,” said an anonymous victim. “It was the boy next door, good looking guy that could most likely get anyone he wanted. Yet the whole night he targeted me, and in the end almost got away with it if it wasn’t for my date and the staff at the bar.”

Many times we forget about the many dangers of drinking at a party, club or bar. The possibility of having fun often outweighs the possibility of a dangerous situation. With the help of these many drug safe technologies and good company, the next time your favorite song comes on the dance floor you can dance easy knowing your drink is safe.

Do you have your friend’s back?

1)  Watch each other’s drinks

2)  Don’t leave a friend behind

3)  If your friend seems really drunk, check to see if they are all right

4)  If you hear about a “drugged” drink make everyone aware and turn the predator into the appropriate authorities.

**If you notice powder on the glass or a funny taste in your drink throw it out and tell someone immediately!

If you or someone you know has been drugged or assaulted in any way contact:

The Colorado Rape Crisis Hotline: 303-322-7273

Auraria Campus Emergency Phone Number: 303-556-5000

Or if you are on campus go to the nearest campus phone and dial 911

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Ashley Hattle

About Ashley Hattle

Ashley Hattle is a senior at Metropolitan State University (MSU). In high school, Hattle worked for the school newspaper, The Blazer, as the Executive Photo Editor and Lifestyles Editor. After high school she pursued a career in photography and attended the Art Institute of Colorado. After the Art Institute she quickly began working for a photography company in Denver. Through working as a photographer in Denver she re-found her love of journalism and has been a magazine journalism major at MSU since 2010. Hattle hopes to work as a journalist and photographer after graduation in May 2014.

View all posts by Ashley Hattle

5 Responses to “Protect Your Drink, Protect Yourself”

  1. Davy Says:

    This is a great helpful and informative story. Nice job using sub-headings and good idea giving out the numbers for the hotlines that you did.

    Reply

  2. Andrew Says:

    Good relevant story for the young college audience. There are some good products out there for prevention.

    Reply

  3. Grace Says:

    This is a wonderful story! To keep people safe, knowing this is a must. Nicely written

    Reply

  4. Jen Sasser Says:

    This was a great story- interesting and relevant.

    Reply

  5. S.L. Alderton Says:

    Good job! This is a really helpful post.

    Reply

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