As the holiday season moves into full swing, I was sad but not surprised to read on Minx and Zille’s blogs about two different cases of drink doping at scene parties and events, each on opposite sides of the country. Zille fortunately had a helpful and supportive experience when she reported her suspicions to the event organizer. Minx, sadly did not have this experience but was, instead doubted and pressured to keep quiet. I know it can’t have been easy to stand up and talk about what happened. No one wants to believe this goes on, especially in our nice little closed circles. But it does and more often than should be comfortable for anyone.
As someone who worked in a university residence hall for a number of years and on a university campus for many more than that, I know how wide-spread drink doping is. Of the 10 to 15 times I took students have their blood and urine tested following a suspected doping, drugs the students had no memory of taking were found in all but one case (generally the drugs were ambien, xanax or valium rather than the rarer date rape drug “rohypnol”). Even more common is the spiking of low alcohol or non-alcoholic beverages with 100+ proof white alcohol — something that’s gone on since my mother was in college. (That happened to me years ago — though I fortunately noticed due to the oddly chemical taste.) It’s sad to say this, but communal drinks just aren’t safe and probably haven’t been for a while. Sadder still is our not being able to leave drinks even for a moment, even at private functions.
I’d like to think that the group sponsoring Minx’s event is just unaware of how widespread this problem is and that her blog entry will prompt others who’ve experienced this to come forward and help all of us who haven’t experienced this to be more aware. Rohypnol and other benzodiazepines (used in the rarest but most dangerous sorts of doping) are found more and more frequently on university campuses along with other legal and illegal drugs. I assume this means they’re also becoming more widely used in the general population.
It’s not that there’s a lot of people who dope drinks out there, but the ones that do are good at it and rely on ignorance on the part of their victims (and hosts). What we hear about most in the press are the very worst of the worst — those who dope drinks in order to rape. But there are those who do so, as Zille points out, in the mistaken belief they’re sharing, loosening up the party or helping guests have a better time. So anyone who might be tempted to do “share” in this fashion, can I remind you that there are those of us who have to watch how much we drink because of other medications? Personally, I can’t have more than one drink when I’m on lithium without running the risk of becoming very ill.
Anyway, this ended up longer than I intended. My point is, have fun but watch your drinks.