Imagine being at a party, everything is fine. Not too intoxicated, you continue drink your beer. The next thing you know, you are on your back hours later with people standing all around you. You were “roofied.”
Recently there have been reports of the use of “roofies” around campus.” Even at a considerably safe, secure little university like Castleton, students are becoming victims of the drug which can disorients their victim and causes him or her to pass out. This can lead to sexual assault and other incidents.
A senior, who would like to remain anonymous, was being good one night during a previous school year and decided to
"People should be aware of their surroundings, and never leave their drink around."
be the responsible one when they went out to a party with friends.
“I was supposed to be the babysitter that night and only had six beers, and the next thing I remember was being in my room with a first responder,” the student said. “I was one in eight that weekend; it comes in waves.”
While it’s an uncommon occurrence at Castleton, this does happen every once in a while to both men and women.
“People should be aware of their surroundings, and never leave their drink around. You may think you’re safe, but it can take a half a second to put something in someone’s drink,” they said. “It was scary but it made me realize that it can happen to anyone.”
Rohypnol otherwise known as “roofies” or the “date rape drug” is a white or olive green pill. The pills can be crushed and snorted as powder, sprinkled on marijuana and smoked, dissolved in a drink, or injected into the body. The person experiences drowsiness, loss of muscle control, amnesia, and confusion.
Students on campus have heard about the reports and share their thoughts on the matter.
“It has a lot to do with people not being safe with their drinks, and saying yes to any form of alcohol without thinking of the repercussions. I feel like females are a huge target and people that party recklessly. People really just need to smarten up and not take drinks from strangers,” said sophomore Elly Zelazny.
Contrary to some incidents where the victim was not extremely intoxicated, students like freshman Deni Musaefendic believe that reducing alcohol intake is the best way to prevent someone from being drugged.
“If students reduce the amount of alcohol they consume than their chances of being drugged will be significantly lessened,” he said.
Amy Bremel, Change Initiative Violence Coordinator, is heavily adamant that alcohol is the most common date rape drug, and to eliminate being drugged one should not condone drinking. There are other things that can be done to reduce the chances of a potential drugging, but they’re harm and risk reduction measures, not prevention.
“Harm reduction and risk reduction are important. It’s important to pour your own drinks, not leave your drinks unattended if you go to the bathroom, or have someone that you completely trust hold your drink,” Bremel said. “Anything can be put in alcohol, especially those things of jungle juices at parties that everyone drinks out of, you don’t know what’s in there. Going out in groups and coming back with the same people, using the buddy system or going out with a sober friend are things that should be done. These things are harm and risk reduction not prevention,” she said.
Keith Molinari, Director of Public Safety Campus Life, has similar advice for preventative measures that students should take while engaging in drinking and partying activity.
“Always be aware of your circumstances. The best prevention is that someone is with you that isn’t indulging in alcohol for the evening. I have not had a sexual assault drugging incident on campus where that was a case. Although there was suspicion of students being drugged during my tenure here, it didn’t, thank god, lead to a sexual assault because they had preventative measures in place. By that I mean that they had a friend that wasn’t nearly as intoxicated and wasn’t participating in drinking and they stayed with them the entire time,” he said.
Students should be aware of the measures they can take to eliminate their chances of being drugged.as well as the consequences of partaking in drinking, and what can happen if they happen to be a victim of a drugging and sexual assault incident.
Bremel also mentioned the SANE program which helps those who have experienced sexual assault.
“In the state of Vermont in relation to the SANE program, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, if a student goes in they have to do a special request for drug testing because it’s not a part of the rape kit. If they believe they’ve been drugged they need to go in as soon as they can to get tested. They can even bring a friend with them for support. This way evidence will be accurate and they can get the proper care needed,” she said.
Vermont has strict laws regarding sexual assault, and higher offenses for people that commit such crimes. Educating students and having them take preventative measures if they do decide to engage in risky activities will hopefully reduce the numbers of drugging incidents.