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Who's buying your drinks?

4th April 2012

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I remember when I got my drink spiked. Well, really, I don’t remember it at all. But the experience frightened me enough to imprint a shot glass shaped mark in my brain.

A normal night at the student union with a 9am presentation the next morning meant I played it safe and stuck to just the one vodka and red bull. My next memory is being hunched over my toilet sobbing hysterically and drifting in and out of consciousness.

My story could have ended a lot worse, but it seems someone up above had their eye on me. My friends found me, carried me home and although they couldn’t stop the frightening effects of whatever I’d been slipped, they made sure I was safe and ended up in my own bed.

The danger goes without saying: it leaves you vulnerable to theft, assault or much worse. Horror stories about the ‘date rape’ drug are common and I have to admit I’ve been party to an occasional ‘roofie’ joke, but the reality is grave. After CCTV caught a boy putting something in her drink, it was clear why my house mate, a normally sensible girl, had become a mess who’d ended up smacking her head on a glass table after falling backwards. Another friend’s holiday turned sour when she finished her night fitting on the apartment floor with her eyes rolling to the back of her head. Scary stuff. And while most of the effects pass quite soon, some victims have been left with longer lasting conditions including kidney and liver infections.

But, I hear you ask, haven’t they all just had one too many? We’ve all been known to forget the night before, see our drinks make a reappearance and change our behaviour when we go past our limits. Alcohol and drugs can often have the same effects and a few too many units can alter someone’s behaviour and personality in the same way something more serious also can.

Subtle symptoms can draw the line. A complete shift in behaviour, although not the most reliable of signs, should be cause for alarm. A lack of response, glazed eyes, amnesia, paranoia, hallucinations and unconsciousness are worrying signals. If you see any of these, or are concerned about a friend, tell someone, whether it’s a security guard or even by calling 999. You might think you’re overreacting, but the long and short term effects could be life threatening and, although clichéd, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Be prepared for me to sound like your mum for the next minute or two but it has to be said in an article of this nature. Don’t accept drinks from strangers and don’t ever leave drinks unattended, not even for a second while you take a photo. It might be tempting to accept a free drink from someone you do or don't know on a student budget, but it takes one second for someone to slip something in your drink -and there’s no telling what the consequences could be.

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