By Ann Varner
As a woman, I have always heard about date rape drugs, the most popular being Rohypnol (or “roofies”). It is ingrained in women to never leave our drinks alone, to never let someone else buy them for us, and to never turn our backs.
Date rape drugs cause amnesia, blacking out, or loss of memory. Depending on the amount of alcohol ingested, the more aggressive the drug becomes. The person who was drugged appears to be very intoxicated, which is why this drug is so scary.
How do you know if you’re drunk or have been drugged? Depending on one’s tolerance, it takes more than a few drinks to get to the point of intoxication where one is vomiting, passed out, and having trouble moving or speaking. If you have only had one or two drinks in a matter of a few hours and suddenly feel very drunk or have any of the above symptoms, you may have been drugged. I know from experience.
It was supposed to be a fun night. My friend, her boyfriend, and his friend (we will call him A) and I all went out to Westport. I was barely 21 and I thought A was cute, so I made sure to have a big dinner and to only have a few drinks over four hours with water in between. I didn’t want to drink too much and embarrass myself in front of A.
I had one drink, vodka and sprite, at the beginning of the night and then drank water for a few hours. We were having a blast talking and dancing.
I decided to have my second drink and as I went to the bar to order it, I was approached by a man who was interested in me, but I did not reciprocate his interest (we will call him B). While I was ordering my vodka sprite, he hit on me. I once again told him I wasn’t interested. He thought I was alone, which is something men who drug women look for.
I went to the opposite end of the club with my drink to talk to my friends. I wanted to dance and not spill my drink on myself, so I set the drink on the table behind me– and turned my back. It was only for a few minutes, but that’s all it takes to slip a drug into a drink.
I nursed my drink for about 10 minutes. I hadn’t even finished my drink– and mind you this was only my second drink in a period of 4 hours— and I suddenly felt very drunk. The room started to spin, and everything around me was muffled. I told A that I needed to sit down.
The last thing I remember is thinking, How can I be this drunk? There is something wrong. Wait. I turned my back on my drink. B is here, and he’s not a good guy. Oh my gosh, I think I’ve been drugged.
What happened next is what my friends told me. I told them that I had been drugged and I needed to make myself throw up. I went to the bathroom, but never got a chance to force the drug out. I was found unconscious, face down on the floor with a cut on my forehead from passing out and hitting the toilet.
My friends said that the bouncer became angry and demanded we leave. They kept telling the bouncer that 30 minutes before I was completely sober, and that something had to be wrong. The bouncer didn’t believe them. I’m told I was unable to move and had to be carried out of the bathroom and laid on the sidewalk while they hailed a cab.
You see, B didn’t know I was with friends and had assumed that when the drug kicked in, I would be alone and helpless. He was wrong. My friends took care of me. I woke up the next morning with no memory of what had happened and I felt like death. I needed to go to the hospital, but I couldn’t even make it to my front door.
My friend called and told me what happened. She said that she had seen B following me around the club and waiting outside when we were kicked out.
Let this be a lesson to all women out there. You think it won’t happen to you—I certainly didn’t. Unfortunately, in our unequal society, it’s still important to be vigilant.