Volume 91, Issue 71

Wednesday, February 4, 1998

sock it


Keep one eye open

Re: Date rape drugs

To the Editor:
Probably the last thing on anyone's mind as they are going to a bar, house party or other social event, is that something 'bad' could happen to them or someone they know. After all, 'bad' things only happen to other people, right? Unfortunately, nothing is further from the truth.

This past weekend, the Toronto Star and Toronto Sun both reported that Hamilton police are investigating the likely use of 'date rape drugs' in at least six recent sexual assaults in that city. Alarmingly, at least one drugging of a victim was carried out in a McMaster University campus bar.

There are a variety of 'date rape drugs' in the repertoire of the prospective rapist, including those known as 'roofies' and 'GBH.' They are many times more powerful than Valium and when administered can cause amnesia, drowsiness, lethargy, dis-inhibition, impaired judgement and loss of motor skill coordination. In higher doses, these drugs can cause cardiac and respiratory distress and/or arrest, seizures, unconsciousness leading to coma and even death. What makes these drugs so dangerously effective is that they are totally undetectable by taste, sight or smell. A victim of a drugging will, literally, never know what hit them.

To protect yourself against being the victim of 'date rape drugging'; Keep your drink with you at all times, do not accept drinks – even coffee or soft drinks from strangers, except for the bartender or server. Do not accept open container drinks at parties. Be aware of your surroundings.

Make a pact with your friends to watch out for each other and to prevent one another from leaving the party alone, with a stranger or with any mere acquaintance, no matter how well-intentioned and trustworthy that person may seem.

Don't be afraid to call for help; city police, university police, residence staff, the hospital or Sexual Assault Crisis Centre.

On campus, use the Western Foot Patrol to escort you to your destination and insist your friends do the same – especially after a night of drinking.

Mike Foster
Campus Safety Commissioner

To Contact The Opinions Department: gazoped@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998