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The Truth About Roofies

George Jean Nathan once said, “I only drink to make other people seem interesting.”

Unfortunately, that “lady” or “gent” next to you in the bar agrees; and, some will go the extra mile to ensure that you will be as interesting as they want you to be.

I don’t mean to be your mother or life coach, but I’m taking a stab at my first science-meets-sociology article to pull a reluctant issue to the surface: Spiking drinks. It has become a common trend for these demographics:
1. Birmingham party and venue-goers
2. College students
3. Strong, independent males AND females

If you’re reading this, you probably encompass 2/3 if not all 3 of those characteristics.

In the past month, three of my friends (2 being males, may I add) have been “roofied”—a term used for someone who has unwillingly ingested Rohypnol, a “rape drug” that in combination with alcohol causes adverse effects that lead to toxicity and death.

Side effects include sedation, muscle relaxation, paranoia, decreased blood pressure, confusion, impaired cognitive skills, dilated pupils, and moments of extreme adrenaline.

Affect-effects, from what I’ve heard, feel like “the worst hangover of my entire life. It lasted for days. I wanted to sleep through it all, and even when I did, I still felt drowsy.”

Other after-effects include impaired psychomotor and cognitive functions, increased risk of falls, piercing headaches, urinary retention, gastrointestinal disturbances, and dehydration.

Here’s the real danger about the drug: Rohypnol dissolves easily in drinks with little to no taste. In recent years, the drug has been modified so that a blue or green dye becomes apparent in light and clear drinks. The drug can cost as little as $5. And the worst of all, Birmingham is known to have influxes of Rohypnol supply, and the invasion has begun.

I’m sure we all have an idea of how to prevent from being date-raped, but just to reiterate, here are some useful tips:
1. Watch your drink. Cup your hand over the top or spout of your drink and keep as close of an eye on it as your date or that cute boy/girl in the corner.
2. Don’t waste! Chug that drink before you head to the restroom or give it to a friend.
3. Go with a group of trustworthy friends. This typically does not decrease the risk of ingesting the drug, but at least you have friends to take care of you if something happens.
4. Be weary of anyone who buys you a drink, and watch them order it if you do.
5. If you or a friend has had an experience of being “date raped,” notify the venue you were at so that the manager(s) and bartender(s) can keep an eye out for the drug.

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