Drugging off campus raises alarm

Two weeks ago, Castleton students received a campus wide alert stating that a Castleton student had been drugged at a local bar. Although the e-mail included no information regarding actual names or location, the e-mail sought to inform students about the situation.”The student made a report to us, and we thought it was credible,” said Dean of Students Dennis Proulx.

“We received it at about 4:00 in the afternoon on a Thursday and sent the e-mail out around 5 p.m. We’re not naive, and knew that Thursday night is a big night for students to go out, so we knew we had to do something.

The student, albeit confidentially, has decided to share her story, as she understands the importance of helping to mitigate future incidents.

“I had two and a half drinks, and I don’t remember anything after buying the third,” said the student.

“I completely blacked out, and that has never happened to me before. I mean I am 22-years-old and have had way more than that before.”

The student said she was lucky that her boyfriend was there to help her through the situation.

“My boyfriend found me outside of the bar where you walk in, hanging over the railing. I wasn’t throwing up at that point, but when [my boyfriend] tried to get me to stand up, he realized I couldn’t hold my body up by myself,” the student said.

The student said they were conscious but unresponsive and that their arm muscles weren’t working properly. After arriving home safely, the victim threw up from about 1 a.m. until 5 a.m.

“When I woke up I had a lot of chest pain, and my heart was racing. I didn’t remember anything,” they said. “I just remember thinking like, ‘there is something wrong here, who still feels drunk after throwing up for five hours after only two and a half drinks?'”

After feeling nauseous for two days and not being able to hold any food down, medical attention was finally sought.

Although there were no traces of any drugs found during the blood test, date rape drugs usually leave the system relatively quickly, the patient’s heart rate and blood pressure were still very high, a side effect of being drugged.

“There is no blood test, but the doctor did write a note that said I was drugged if I wanted to take it to the police,” the victim said.

Although there was no official report made to the police, they have been notified and have stated that they will make a conscious effort to patrol the area more on Thursday nights.

“The reason I contacted [Proulx] is because I wanted to warn other girls, I wanted to warn the campus,” they said.

Besides the e-mail alert, there have been multiple additional efforts made at the college level to deal with the situation.

The Peer Advocates for Change initiative organized a drug forum approximately a week later to help raise awareness and to educate students on how to lessen the chances of similar situations happening to them.

“We felt that we needed to educate the campus more to show, not only that this does happen, but that there are also ways to prevent it,” said Professor Linda Olson, who is the co-chair of the CHANGE initiative. “We are also trying to make a matrix of support for these students.”

Although the student was not able to attend the forum, she did note that if it was not for her support system, her situation might have been much worse.

“I had a great support system. So my advice is that if you are going to go to a bar or a club, go with a group of people that you trust who won’t leave you at the end of the night, because if something happens, you will want them to be with you,” they said. “Because that is what saved me – good friends.

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