January 4, 2013

Scary But True...

We all have a vivid recollection of the blockbuster movie The Hangover.  One of the more hilarious flicks that we can easily watch over and over without tiring of the ongoing shenanigans that ensue after a group of four bachelors spend a few days in Vegas celebrating the upcoming nuptials of their friend, Doug.  You may recall that the hilarity began after each member of the the group inadvertently ingested a pill that by slang terms is known as a "roofie."  This term is short for Rohypnol, which is more commonly known as the date rape drug.  While the movie portrays a forgetful night of missing teeth, an unexpected marriage, and a rogue tiger, Rohypnol is anything but funny.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this tiny but powerful pill, it has sadly become more and more commonplace for these tablets to find themselves in the beverages of unsuspecting women.  While Rohypnol is illegal in the United States, it is fairly easy to score the pills on the street for as little as $1.00 per pill.

Why am I writing about this?  Because in a matter of six months, I personally know two women who, on separate occasions, had one of these pills slipped into a drink and both were raped.  One a teenager at a party and the other a forty something single mom in a bar.  Oh~ and both incidents occurred in one of the most affluent communities in the United States.  So, when you say to yourself, "this could never happen to me"...think again.  These are two examples of incidents that could happen to any one of us or our daughters.

In the last several years, the date rape drug has increasingly become more mainstream.  It is reported that unbeknownst to millions of women and girls, they will innocently turn their heads for a matter of seconds and a small odorless, tasteless pill will dissolve in their beverage.  Here's what happens.  Approximately 20-30 minutes after the drink is ingested, you feel dizzy and sleepy.  Your heart rate slows, your motor reflexes become less acute, and you basically behave the same way as someone who is drunk.  Although, once the drug is in your system you will lose consciousness and have no memory of anything that occurred.  In both situations referenced above, the women woke up hours later, naked, injured, with signs of sexual abuse, and in one situation her purse gone.  This woman literally woke up on the sidewalk.

With that said, there are positive steps being taken to combat the ugly realities of the date rape drug.   Two Israeli scientists from Tel Aviv University have developed a device that will detect even trace amounts of the drug if it has been placed in a beverage.  Here's how it works.  The device can be put into the glass itself or in a straw or swizzle stick.  The device is able to immediately discern the existence of the drug and it turns a color to flag the owner of the beverage that their drink has been tainted.  I have linked below an interview that further explains the development of the device.

A Boston-based company by the name of Drink Savvy is in the process of manufacturing and distributing products that will incorporate the device.  They are in the beginning stages of development, but have every hope of making their products available in the future.

In the meantime, there are safety measures we can take to reduce the risk of being a victim.  Please make a note of the following tips to keep you and your gal pals safe:

~Never leave your drink unattended.
~Never accept a drink from someone you don't know very well.
~Never drink out of a punch bowl.
~If someone wants to buy you a drink, accompany them to the bar and accept the beverage directly from the person making the drink.
~Always subscribe to the "buddy system" and make sure that you keep an eye on each other during the course of the evening.
~Keep an eye out for other women out there who may be unsuspecting victims.  I would hate to think that I didn't speak up about a potentially dangerous situation to later learn that it ended in tragedy.

I hope you will take the opportunity to share this information with your daughters and girlfriends.  It is devastating to think that one more woman will have to live with regret because she had a simple cocktail in any bar or party in America.


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