Most of us have heard the story. Someone goes to a party, has one drink and wakes up hours later confused and unable to remember the night before. The nightmare of date rape drugs is real, and we need to learn how to protect ourselves.
Drink Safe Technologies’ test cards and coasters have been appearing across Canada in bars, raves and frosh week kits and soon may be available in grocery stores and pharmacies. The manufacturers claim their technology can be used to prevent the growing problem of drug facilitated sexual assault. Is this the drink tampering solution we’ve all been waiting for or just a costly gimmick?
The “Who’s watching your drink?” coaster
The cards and coasters are designed to detect the presence of two common date rape drugs, GHB and ketamine (AKA Special K), in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. A drop of your drink on the testing area will turn dark blue if your drink has been tampered with, allowing you to detect what is otherwise a colourless, odourless and tasteless substance.
However, there are still some downfalls that need to be addressed. For starters, they are not currently recommended for wine or any drink containing fruit juice, milk products, tonic water or oily liqueurs such as Bailey’s or Kahlua. And dark-coloured beverages such as cola presents a problem as the blue reaction may be difficult to determine, especially in a dark nightclub.
A recent study by the Vancouver Police Department found that there are more than 20 drugs associated with drug-facilitated sexual assault. So what else can you do? First, educate yourself about the various date rape drugs in circulation. Learn what they look like and the effect they have on those who take them. Second, party by the buddy system. Friends can watch unattended drinks and keep an eye out for unusual behaviour such as sudden dizziness or drowsiness. Finally, do not accept drinks from anyone other than a bartender or waiter, and watch them as they mix it. As for the test cards and coasters, it’s up to you. An incomplete test is better than no test at all, but don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. The best way to protect yourself is to remain alert. Watch your drink, and watch your friends.
Be aware of these potential rape drugs!
Ecstasy /X/Adam/MDMA is a stimulant and a hallucinogen. It can reduce the brain’s ability to think and regulate emotion, memory, sleep, and pain.
G/Liquid Ecstasy/Georgia Home Boy or Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) can be made in homes by using recipes with common ingredients. At lower doses, it can relax the user, but, as the dose increases, the sedative effects may result in sleep and eventual coma or death.
Roofie/Roche/Rohypnol is tasteless and odourless. It mixes easily in carbonated beverages and can cause individuals to forget what happened. Other effects include low blood pressure, drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, and stomach upset.
Special K/K/Ketamine is an anaesthetic. Use of a small amount results in loss of attention span, learning ability, and memory. At higher doses, it can cause delirium, amnesia, high blood pressure, depression, and severe breathing problems.
Speed/Ice/Chalk/Meth/Methamphetamine is often made in home laboratorie and can cause serious health concerns, including memory loss, aggression, violence, psychotic behaviour, and heart problems.
Acid/Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) may cause unpredictable behaviour depending on the amount taken, where the drug is used, and on the user’s personality. Effects include numbness, weakness, nausea, increased heart rate, sweating, lack of appetite, “flashbacks,” and sleeplessness.
For more info on rape drugs and the test cards and coasters visit: www.drinksafe.com
Written by Faze’s Kate Miles