I’ve worked in bars for nearly three years now, and people watching at work is always fun. You get the ‘regulars,’ who without fail come every weekend and drink until the early hours (often alone or attach themselves to an unsuspecting person who happens to be standing near them); the ’pre-drinkers’ - groups of girls who get more confident throughout the night and often merge with a similar group of guys; and the ‘older’ people who spend all night on the dance floor having a great time, requesting songs that probably half the bar haven’t heard of, and when you’re totally sober, it does make you laugh.
I was lucky enough to be given a weekend off, so it was my turn to be the other side of the bar. I went out at 9pm with a couple of friends, and being semi-new to the area they took me to one of the popular bars before we went ‘out out.’ I hadn’t been out in a while so was having a great time and dancing to ‘Uptown Funk’. But it didn’t last too long. I woke up in my bed the next day with absolutely no memory from that point onwards.
I was still in the clothes I went out in, my make-up still on and one shoe off completely confused as to what had happened. My parents came into my room and asked how I was feeling, and did I have a lot to drink. I remember only having two double vodka and orange juice and two shots – less than I would normally on a night out.
My parents then went on to explain what happened and said that at 12 o’clock my mum had to come and pick me up after one of my friends called her saying I couldn’t move and that we were outside the club that we were heading to.
I didn’t remember leaving the bar.
My dad had to carry me up the stairs and my mum and my sister helped me into bed before I crawled to the bathroom to throw up.
Trying to remember any of the events of that night is hard, and like a weird outer-body experience, as if I’m watching myself walk down the road.
My mum asked me if there was a possibility that I was spiked or that I had simply drank too much as I hadn’t eaten dinner. But, when googling the side effects of Rohypnol (a common ‘date-rape’ drug), I had 100% been spiked.
One website reads:
“Rohypnol users often describe its effects as “paralyzing.” The effects start twenty to thirty minutes after taking the drug, peak within two hours and may persist for eight or even twelve hours. A person can be so incapacitated (made unable to act) 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.”
Looking back, it’s quite scary to think that someone spiked my drink. But when you tell someone you were spiked they don’t believe you and just say ‘yeah yeah, you sure you just didn’t drink too much,’ or ‘I’ve heard that one before.’ This is why it’s hard to get decent figures as people just shrug it off blaming their incapability to hold their drink. It’s the vagueness of the statistics that make it so sinister. Even if more bars and clubs were to start targeting drink spiking, would they really know what to look for and be able to distinguish that from a very drunk person?
It’s also hard to get taxi drivers to help, when someone is spiked it takes 72 hours for the drugs to leave the body so you should really go and get medical help as soon as possible, but taxi drivers won’t let someone who appears to be incredibly drunk into their taxi as they’re worried they will throw up.
Thankfully, I had my friends there to help me and they were right to call my parents. This experience made me more cautious, and I would like to encourage girls to be more aware of their drinks on a night out too. Don’t put your drink down, cover the top of the drink with your hand, and drink through a straw.