Drink spiking victims warn of danger in Gladstone
GLADSTONE mother Janice Norman Foster knows the effect drink spiking has.
On Friday night, her son Raymond, 18, was out having a game of pool and a quiet drink at a nightclub when he fell violently ill.
In a matter of minutes after leaving his drink at the counter to use the bathroom, something was added to his glass and unaware, he continued to drink it.
"He went out with less than $30 in his wallet and hardly drank at all," she said.
"I got a phone call saying 'Mum help' and it cut out."
If it wasn't for Raymond's close friend Jesse being by his side, Ms Foster would not have found him because he was passed out behind the RSL.
"Raymond's a big boy, 6ft tall and 120 kilos and the effect it had on him was horrific," she said.
"He didn't wake up until midday Saturday and is still ill today."
Although Raymond didn't have to go to hospital, keeping him hydrated and the drug out of his system was a full-time job for Janice.
"It's just lucky my sister is a nurse and could give us advice," she said.
"He's obviously very shaken up and this has been a massive wake-up call to him and everyone to be alert.
"I can't help but think 'Gee I'd hate to see what it did to a young girl'."
It's a similar story for Amelia, 21, who had her drink spiked less than six months ago in the CBD.
"I'd had two tequila and lemonades which I drink all the time and I know I can hold my alcohol," she said.
Amelia went to the bathroom and in 10 minutes could hardly stand-up.
"It felt weird, like I was really drunk, but different, more like being on really strong pain medication."
Amelia now warns other locals of the danger.
"I know spiking happens in Gladstone and over the years three friends have been spiked," she said.
"We always go out together as a group because we know how bad it is."
Nail polish being developed to combat date rape drugs
A COMPANY in the USA is developing a nail polish that will reveal the presence of date-rape drugs such as Rohypnol and GHB by changing colour in their presence.
According to Undercover Colors co-founder Tyler Confrey-Maloney, wearing the nail polish will give any woman power to discreetly ensure her safety by simply stirring her drink with her finger.
"Through this nail polish and similar technologies, we hope to make potential perpetrators afraid to spike a woman's drink because there's now a risk that they can get caught," he said.
"In effect, we want to shift the fear from the victims to the perpetrators."
Not all have confidence in its ability though, co-founder of Melbourne Slutwalk, a march against rape and victim blaming, Karen Pickering argues that "no amount of preparation or technology will protect us from the fact that the overwhelming majority of sexual assault is committed by men known and trusted by victims".
Working to combat these crimes locally is Detective Senior Sergeant Luke Peachey and a team from Gladstone police department.
They urge anyone who has information about perpetrators to come forward.
SYMPTONS TO LOOK OUT FOR:
- Irregular or shallow breathing
- Confusion, irritation and agitation
- Blackouts and memory loss
- Unconsciousness that can last for 3 to 4 hours
AVOIDING DRINK SPIKING:
- When out at a pub, club or party, watch your drinks.
- Avoid sharing drinks, and be wary of accepting drinks from people you don't know very well.
- Buy your own drinks and know what you are drinking.
- Do not drink something you did not open, or see opened or poured.
- If you feel dizzy or ill, ask someone you trust to take you to a safe place.
- Keep an eye on your friends.
- If someone is unconscious, phone 000 for an ambulance immediately - but do not leave them alone.
- Report drink spiking or suspected spiking to venue staff or the police.