Parties (especially where alcohol and drugs are present!) are prime opportunities for sexual assault, sexual violence and spiked drinks. So, what do you do if you or a friend consumes a spiked drink?
Drink spiking can happen without the drinkers’ knowledge. People might spike a drink for serious reasons, like robbing or sexually assaulting the unsuspecting victim. Drink spiking happens in bars, at parties, on campuses, or away on spring break, and on dates.
Anyone who sees someone tampering with a drink should get that person out of the situation and contact authorities. Below are tips to protect yourself and your friends against drink tampering:
• Know that both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks can be drugged.
• Order your own drink, watch it being poured, and carry it to the table yourself.
• If you notice that your drink has a bitter, salty or strange taste — stop drinking it immediately.
• Do not leave your drink — get a new one.
• Adhere to a buddy system and check in on your friends throughout the night.
• If you see a drink being tampered with, or notice an impaired person, your involvement — whether directly or by contacting security and law enforcement — can save someone’s life or future.
• If you feel that someone has been drugged, don’t leave them alone; alert others around you to get help. Keep your friend by your side at all times, and do your best to keep them awake and alert.
• Once you or your friend is physically safe, locate people who can provide support, such as trusted friends, parents, bar security or management. Notify the local police officers and security guards as they can also help.
What to do if your drink was drugged and you think you’ve been sexually assaulted:
1. Go to a safe place. Ask a trusted friend to stay with you.
2. Call the police. Tell the police everything. Be honest about your activities. Remember that nothing justifies sexual assault.
3. Go to a hospital as soon as possible. Ask for an exam and evidence collection. Request that the hospital take a urine sample for drug toxicology testing. Have them test for GHB, Rohypnol, Ecstasy, and ketamine.
4. Preserve as much physical evidence as possible. Don’t bathe, shower, or throw away clothing you were wearing during the incident until you’ve talked to the police and have been examined by a doctor. Save any other potential evidence, like the glass that held your drink.
5. Call a sexual assault crisis center for support and information.
The best thing you can do?
Be prepared, stay alert and watch out for your friends!
Steve Klingler is a Sidney-Shelby Crime Stoppers board member. Crime Stoppers is a diverse group of individuals working with local law enforcement officials to hand out rewards for information.