By Jillian A. Bogater
The fear in her eyes was unmistakable.
My friend couldnÕt find her partner. We were at a club, and I had never seen the two apart. Ever. She was frantic, and I knew something was terribly wrong.
Two days later, my worst fears were confirmed. Someone at the bar had slipped a drug into my friendÕs drink.
She almost died.
Doctors at the emergency room were not able to determine which drug she ingested, but it caused her to become disoriented after one drink. When she went outside to get air, she began vomiting, lost consciousness, and at one point stopped breathing.
Her symptoms are very similar to the effects of gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), commonly known as the date rape drug. It is a clear, odorless liquid, easily slipped into a drink unnoticed.
This makes women a target for sexual assault or worse as the drugs often render victims unconscious, with no memory of the incident.
Overdoses usually require emergency room treatment, including intensive care for respiratory depression and coma, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. As of November 2000, DEA documented 71 GHB-related deaths.
During a six-month period in 2003, hospital emergency departments nationwide reported 2,221 incidents involving MDMA (Ecstacy) use, 990 for GHB and 73 for ketamine (an anesthetic also known as Special K).
As my friend recovered from the incident, other women started contacting her, sharing their own horrific tales. At least four other women said they became seriously ill in the last month after someone slipped something in their drink.
I got chills as she shared their stories.
Could it be that someone is targeting women at lesbian bars?
ThereÕs no way to know. But we have the power to protect ourselves.
If you choose to drink, be aware of your beverage at all times. It’s easy to just leave it at the bar or on a table as you run to the dancefloor or pose for a quick picture with friends. But this is a bad idea. It only takes a moment for someone to slip something in a drink.
We are a community. Regardless if these are isolated incidents or specific attacks on lesbians in the Metro Detroit area, we need to pull together.
If something like this has happened to you, tell a friend. Go to the police. Call me or send an e-mail. Drugging is a felony. It’s against the law.
And it can kill.
DonÕt accept drinks from people you donÕt know.
DonÕt drink beverages that you did not open yourself.
DonÕt share or exchange drinks with anyone.
DonÕt take a drink from a punch bowl or a container that is being passed around.
If possible, bring your own drinks to parties.
If someone offers you a drink from the bar at a club or party, accompany the person to the bar to order your drink, watch the drink being poured and carry the drink yourself.
DonÕt leave your drink unattended while talking, dancing, using the restroom, or making a phone call.
If you realize your drink has been left unattended, discard it.
DonÕt drink anything that has an unusual taste or appearance (e.g., salty taste, excessive foam, unexplained residue).
Don’t mix drugs and alcohol.
Date rape drug
¥ In lower doses, gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) causes drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and visual disturbances.
¥ At higher dosages, unconsciousness, seizures, severe respiratory depression and coma can occur.
¥ Overdoses usually require emergency room treatment, including intensive care for respiratory depression and coma. As of November 2000, DEA documented 71 GHB-related deaths.
¥ GHB has been used in the commission of sexual assaults because it renders the victim incapable of resisting, and may cause memory problems that could complicate case prosecution.
Source: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, http://www.dea.gov