CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - We've had more incidents reported again this week in Charlotte, and around the country, of bar patrons falling prey to predators who are placing drugs into their drinks. This is a very serious topic.
People go to entertainment venues to relax and enjoy themselves. That's the bottom line. However, it's becoming very apparent that safety and security is now a major concern when spending an evening out, not only in our local bars, but in establishments across the United States.
Bar management, hospitals, and police are all receiving an increased number of reports, primarily from ladies, who've had a drug surreptitiously introduced into their drink while just relaxing and having a good time. Surprisingly, this is often occurring at a variety of well-known bars, restaurants and entertainment venues. But this crime is not limited to just those locations. Be aware of this any time a drink is in your hand and you're in a public place.
Let me share a few recommendations with you to help prevent becoming a victim of this predatory crime.
One Drink – One Drink Only
Never have more than one drink served to you at a time. One technique used by predators is that they'll order you a second drink while you're still enjoying your first. They do this knowing that your second drink will not get a lot of attention until you're ready for it. Now they've created a perfect opportunity to drop a drug into your glass, completely unnoticed by your or anyone else. Simply ask the bartender to either wait to make your second drink, or if one comes to you by surprise, ask the bartender to hold the drink behind the bar until you're ready for it. All bartenders will immediately understand your concern and the reason you are asking them to do this for you.
Anytime you're partaking of a drink in public, keep that beverage directly in front of you at all times. Even when it's in your hand, make sure you don't turn away from your drink. Keep it close to you and bring it along with you. We've seen drinks being tainted while the victim was actually holding the drink but had been distracted and turn away for just a moment.
The Coaster Myth
Do not believe that placing a coaster over your drink while you step away from the bar for a few minutes will keep you safe. It doesn't. There are surveillance videos from bars that show predators approaching a drink covered by a coaster and lifting it up while placing an unknown substance into the drink. So how do you prevent this? Go ahead and place a coaster on your drink, then hand both the drink and the coaster to the bartender, asking them to hold this for you until you return. Again, any bartender will understand your concern.
Drinking with Friends
As we've seen from numerous security videos, predators are not the least bit dissuaded by a lady hanging out with friends while drinking. Many of these criminals have perfected their slight-of-hand to the point where they're able to "spike" a drink right in front of a group of people. When out with friends, the entire group needs to understand the need for safety and security in regard to keeping an eye on your drinks. Next time you go out, chat it over with your friends before it's too late.
What If It Happens To You
Anytime you're out and begin to feel faint or disoriented and believe that your drink may have been drugged, remember, at that moment your safety is the priority. Immediately call for security and a manager and then safely sit down on the floor. Not a bar stool or chair. Why? Because if you suddenly pass out, you don't want to fall off of anything, and you want to be as close to the ground as possible should the unexpected happen.
Make sure that a manager or security is immediately made aware of your situation. They will know what to do and call 911 for you. They will also be able to retrieve any security video that may show who put drugs your drink. This is a reportable crime to the police.
There has also been research and development efforts placed into manufacturing devices that could help alert drinkers to these so-called "date rape drugs". An article of this topic was published last year at EfficientGov.com, a website dedicated to informing and educating municipal leaders on a variety of social issues. Here's a link to that article: https://efficientgov.com/blog/2017/05/22/5-date-rape-drug-detectors/.
If this ever does happen to you, whether you're still in the establishment or have already gone home, regardless of how much time has passed, immediately notify the police.
Many predators are still out there on the loose because victims are either embarrassed or don't think that this is a reportable crime. You may have been drugged at a bar with a substance that the predator knows will not take effect for several minutes, knowing you're leaving soon, and then follow you to your car, or to your next location.