Campus security tries to help combat rising levels of spiked drinks
Credit: TANMAY SHAH
Never leave your drink unattended.
“If you suspect someone has tampered with your beverage, you can actually put a drop onto the tab and it will tell you whether it is positive or negative. These tabs are available to the students for free and they can pick it up anytime at the security office,” said Luke Edwards, special constable at Campus Security Services.
In a student-based city like London, everyone should take safety seriously, especially when there are numerous events going on year round in the city.
There are many entertainment establishments in London to choose from. However, it is important for everyone to be aware of the uncertainties in the environment in order to stay safe while having a good time.
While attending a night out, everyone should always have a plan in place regarding travel arrangements, make sure to have both emergency contact numbers in a fully charged cell phone and the numbers of all who are out with you. It is important that, if one is traveling with people that are new, notify a friend and family member what your plans for the evening will be in case of an emergency.
While enjoying a night out, one should be aware of their surroundings. In order to be safe, visit the bathroom in numbers. Make wise choices about alcohol consumption and look out for friends if they become overly intoxicated. One can always notify the bartender or security at the establishment about any concerns.
“It is important to know where the exits are located and ensure your belongings are always with you, including your drink,” said Auburn White, patrol supervisor at Campus Security Services.
Leaving a drink unattended can lead to occurrences that might change one’s life. There are many types of illegal drugs that can easily be slipped into a drink.
“One drug commonly used by criminals to spike a person’s drink is called Rohypnol. The drug has many names including: the date rape drug, roofies, GHB, liquid ecstasy and ketamine or special k. Rohypnol is a tranquilizer about 10 times more potent than Valium. The drug is available as a white or olive- green pill and is usually sold in the manufacturer’s bubble packaging. Users crush the pills and snort the powder, sprinkle it on marijuana and smoke it, dissolve it in a drink or inject it,” White said.
Rohypnol users often describe its effects as paralyzing. The effects start 20 to 30 minutes after taking the drug, peak within two hours and may persist for eight or even 12 hours. A person can be so incapacitated that they collapse. They lie on the floor, eyes open, able to observe events but completely unable to move. Afterwards, memory is impaired and they cannot recall any of what happened. The person experiences loss of muscle control, confusion, drowsiness and amnesia.
Rohypnol is sold in Europe and Latin America as a sleeping pill, but it is illegal in the U.S. and Canada.
Another way to stay safe is the Stay Safe app designed by the Campus Security Services, which provides students with information about safety and other tools that could be used to stay safe. It also has contact information of the taxi companies for emergency situations.
“London is a relatively safe city, but there could be problems anywhere so it is better to have a plan in place to stay safe. We have a great working relationship with the London police since they are our sponsoring agency and we do our best to protect everyone,” Edwards said. “Things are easier though when everyone else would meet us half way by taking wise safety measures.”