Home > Dating, feminism, Life, Neuroscience and Psychology > What to Do If You’re Drugged

What to Do If You’re Drugged

Juliet kidnaps Serena from a costume party on “Gossip Girl.” Photo: The CW.

I’ve received several emails asking how Juliet drugged Serena on “Gossip Girl.” The latest came last week, even though that “Gossip Girl” episode was over two months ago.

Some were from GG fans who were just curious. Others made me a little uneasy. As a neuroscience student, I will say that the way Juliet did it on “Gossip Girl” was pretty much impossible. It was pure television make-believe.*

Especially in view of some of the emails, however, I think you should know what to do if you suspect you’ve been given a date rape drug.

By the way, even guys can be victims. Predators sometimes use “date rape” drugs to rob people or harm them in other ways besides rape.

You Can Do Things

You might believe that if you’ve been drugged, there’s nothing you can do to protect yourself. That’s not necessarily true. If you’re still aware and in control of yourself, you can increase your chances of escaping safely.

And let’s keep things in perspective. It probably will never happen to you. You shouldn’t be afraid to go out and have fun. But it’s also good to be careful and be prepared.

It can happen at a club or a party. You leave your drink for a minute and then come back. Or someone brings you a drink. Fifteen or twenty minutes later, you start to feel weird. Some of the warning signs are:

  • You feel really tired or dizzy.
  • Your body feels numb, like it’s not there.
  • You feel emotionally detached like everything is a dream.
  • You feel very drunk, a lot more than you’d expect from the amount you drank.
  • You hear things with an echo like they’re far away.
  • You have trouble talking, standing, or walking.
  • You have trouble remembering things.

Someone put a date rape drug in your drink. It might be a guy you’re with, but often, it’s someone else. He’ll be watching you to see when the drug takes effect. When he thinks you’re disoriented and vulnerable, he’ll move in on you. He wants it to look like you just had too much to drink.

Prevention is Best

Of course, the safest thing is not to get drugged in the first place. To prevent it:

  • It’s common sense to use the buddy system when you go to a party or club. Go with friends so you can look out for each other.
  • Don’t leave your drink unwatched on the table or bar. It only takes a second for someone to drop something into it.
  • If a guy you’ve just met wants to get you a drink, go with him and watch while he gets it and gives it to you. Obviously, keep it casual. I admit that I’ve never done this, and it was stupid of me not to do it. From now on, I will.
  • Drink from bottles or cans when it’s an option. If you open them yourself, it’s even better.
  • If a drink tastes funny, don’t drink it. But don’t depend on being able to taste a drug.

If You Think You’ve Been Drugged

If you think you’ve been drugged, don’t wait until you’re sure. Then it might be too late. Here are some things to do:

  • Get to your friends or someone you can trust. Ask them to call 911 and take you to the hospital. Even if you can’t talk, they will see that you’re sick and that something is wrong. This is your best option, because your friends can protect you and the hospital can test you for date-rape drugs.
  • Call 911.
  • Scream “Did you put something in my drink?” Cry, vomit, make as much of a scene as you can. The guy who drugged you wants to get you out quietly. If you attract attention, he’s more likely to stay away from you.

If You Are a Victim

If you wake up in the morning feeling groggy, sick, and you can’t remember what you did, you might have been a victim. Date rape drugs interfere with your memory** of what happened and they disappear from your body within 24 hours. Don’t wait until you feel better. Go straight to the Health Center or the hospital to get tested.

And don’t spend a single second blaming yourself for what happened. You were the victim of a crime, just like a robbery or a shooting. Some lowlife used the most despicable and cowardly way there is to hurt you. Get help and, if possible, make sure that the lowlife goes to prison.

And remember: Prevention is best! Don’t be brave. Be careful.

* It also makes me uneasy that people think TV dramas are a source of valid medical information. But that’s a whole different blog post.

** More accurately, they block the formation of long-term memories.

Copyright 2011 by Rinth de Shadley.

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