Those who enjoy “clubbing” or a night out with friends in the local bar should be aware that there is a growing danger. It hasn’t yet reached the level of an epidemic, but is serious in its scope as well as result. It is the danger of having another person slip a drug into your drink without your knowledge. And it isn’t only happening in college frat houses – men and women of legal drinking age are being targeted for this crime.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released a report that is unlike any previously made. This report provides data on instances of people being intentionally drugged by another without their permission or knowledge. These intentional poisonings don’t seem intended to be murderous, but they have resulted in 15,000 visits to hospital emergency rooms just in the year 2009. Figures for 2010 are expected to be made available soon.
The SAMHSA report indicates that these poisonings cut through a broad cross-section of our society. In other words, it isn’t a problem only for the poor or the rich. People of all strata are being affected.
The report is full of alarming statistics. For example:
Even though roughly 15,000 people made it to the emergency room for treatment, much of the time the precise drug used is not able to be identified. That is because the drugs most often used in this type of crime exit the body rapidly, making detection nearly impossible.
Furthermore, people who have been drugged often have foggy memories and cannot recall precise details. More than half of the time (60 percent) the drugs which were slipped into a person’s drink are never identified. Nearly 40 percent of the time the person took alcohol along with an unidentifiable drug. Only 20 percent of the time did victims receive only an unknown drug.
Most people are aware of the phrase “date rape” and are aware that date rape can involve the victim being given drugs (like Rohypnol) without their knowledge. But date rape is not exclusively responsible for this crime. Motives of theft and violence also come into play. Victims are men and women. Victims are of legal drinking age and sometimes underage. Victims represent all segments of society.
Public awareness and education about the risks could prevent many occurrences. Accepting drinks or drugs/medications from strangers is simply too risky. Since the majority of reported cases involve adults over age 21, those most at risk are old enough to understand the dangers and be alert in their surroundings.