Posts Tagged Date Rape Drugs

Student Safety: Want to host your own workshop?

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The majority our student safety workshops for Women at School and Men At School are privately hosted. We always customize content to best suit your needs.

Here’s how we go about it and we try and keep it simple:

  • Give us some dates and times that work for you. Most classes are held on weekday evenings and some on weekends. We are flexible and work around your schedule.
  • We charge $65 per son or daughter and mom attends at no additional fee
  • Additional siblings, $30 each
  • Our minimum is 12 paid for seats (24 including parents)
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Age: Ideally 14 and older
  • Content and duration customized to your needs
  • Desks or tables are preferable but not necessary
  • We need some space to practice the role playing packages included in these classes. About ten feet in depth and at least 15-20 across is adequate.
  • We bring the laptop and projector and just need a surface to project onto.
  • We carry  insurance to train at any venue. If our company will be paying for space at the venue of your choice this needs to be covered by increasing the minimum number of paid for attendees
  • A handout is included for reference after the training
  • Scholarship If you know of one young man or lady who cannot afford to attend the class you are organizing and you would like him/ her to be there, let us know and we will add him/her and mom to the sign in sheet and be glad to have them join us at no charge. Limit is one parent and child pair per class.
  • Mom (or Dad) why do we want you at the training  as well? -Anytime there is an ongoing dialog regarding information that is common to two or more people there is better retention and a greater probability that strategies discussed in class will actually be implemented. We also teach exercises to improve awareness of our surroundings which are more fun to do with someone who learned them with you rather than alone.

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Date Rape Drugs: Unintentional Ingestion and Tragedy

Ambulance Rushing

As the school year comes to a close we see the typical spike in requested safety trainings by parents especially for their daughters who will be traveling or soon off to college.

The “date rape” or “predatory” drugs are always an area of concern and we dedicate an entire module to this issue.

While we are all concerned about the malicious and intentional use of these drugs to incapacitate our daughters it is important to remember that these substances have and will continue to be inadvertently ingested in situations where there is no malicious intent, or intent at all for that matter.

I am reminded of the tragic death of a young woman in high school who attended a party several summers ago. A small party of people well known to one another and at which her and her friends were only drinking non alcoholic beverages .

At one point this young woman started to feel badly and her friends suggested she lay down on the couch. She did so but her condition did not improve. Her friends then took her home and attended to her as she rested. Not very long after arriving home the young lady stopped breathing and was dead by the time paramedics arrived.

A police investigation revealed that one of the young men who had hosted this small party had kept a large bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator to which he had added some GHB. He was sipping on this periodically to maintain his mild “buzz”. The young lady who had arrived at the party on a that hot summer day had gone to the refrigerator and poured a large glass of water for herself from that bottle and later died from, what for her, was a lethal dose of GHB.

The hard lesson learned from this tragedy is that one can easily ingest a dangerous substance even when in a situation where the substance was not intended to be shared or given to anyone else.

We remind our student to think outside the box and keep this tragic story in mind when next at a party or friends house and you reach for some bottled water. If that bottle is not sealed, you are better off drinking tap water.

The other lesson is that if you even just suspect that a friend may have ingested a drug or substance that is starting to effect them, rather be safe than sorry and get them medical attention immediately.

If someone has been drugged, even inadvertently, they need to be evaluated by a doctor. If it turns out to be a false alarm, well no harm in a false alarm. But if they do in fact have a large dose of a drug in them, immediate medical attention is critical and any time wasted getting this for them could be time that costs them their lives.

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Burundanga- Yet another predatory drug?

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I recently received an e mail warning about another predatory, or date rape drug.

It describes an account of a woman who was approached at a gas station by a man offering his painting services. She took his business card, got into her car a left the station. She states that the painter and a second man followed her out of the gas station.

She states that she immediately began to feel dizzy and could not catch her breath and also noticed a strong odor in the car. She apparently went a neighbors home and honked her horn for help at which time she says the men following her drove away.

She states she felt bad for a few minutes and then noticed a substance on the business card. She states she went on the Internet and found that a drug called “burundanga” can be used to incapacitate victims after being absorbed through the skin.

This e mail was accompanied by a link to an article written by Stephen Pittel, PhD a forensic expert and consultant’s site.

Doctor Pittel indeed describes Burundanga as “a potent form of scopalamine that has been used for decades in Columbia in native rituals, as a weapon and by criminals who prey on tourists.”

Doctors most commonly use scopolamine to treat nausea and motion sickness and often with a trans dermal patch. Scopolamine can cause dizziness, drowsiness and blurred vision even in lower doses, and delirium, unconsciousness and memory loss in large doses, three reasons it has been used as a predatory drug. As with many substances, alcohol has a compounding effect!

Some authors state that in recent years fifty percent of emergency room admission for poisoning in Columbia are due to overdoses of this agent.

Pitell and others note that the State Department has issued warnings to those traveling to South American countries to be aware of this potential threat given the number of tourist that have been robbed after unknowingly ingesting burundanga.

Although this substance is absorbed through the skin, most sources seem to question if one can absorb a large enough dose trans dermally from touching a card or travel brochure. The bigger threat is a large dose being put into a drink.

Whether or not the e mail account of the tainted business card is accurate and whether or not one can absorb enough of a trans dermal agent to become incapacitated is not the real issue.

  • This e mail account should however serve to remind us that we need to be cognizant of those around us any time we are out in public and especially when at parties or functions. Any number of substances can be slipped into any beverage, or food for that matter, anywhere and at any time.

My recent blog entry recounts the tragic story of a couple who were robbed after being drugged by someone they befriended at a coffee shop while traveling in Europe.

Substances commonly used as predatory drugs here in the States include Rohypnol, GHB and Ketermine. Even if you open your own sealed bottle of water or can of soda when out in public, be aware that these compound can be mixed into the ice cubes that a seemingly considerate person may offer you!

Always watch as your drink is prepared, even if it is a latte on a sunny day. Be wary of someone who prepares your drink below bar top level and out of sight. Also be wary of anyone who wants to keep pouring you alcoholic beverages at a party!

The most commonly used substance for predatory purposes, especially date or acquaintance rape, is alcohol!

The opioid analgesics such as Oxycontin and hyrdocodone, effective pain medications when used appropriately, are also dangerous when abused as are the anti anxiety medications and muscle relaxants. Alcohol combined with these medication can result in death as the person gradually looses their urge to breath also knows as respiratory depression.

Often time a “cocktail” of different substances may be used to incapacitate the victim.

Obviously avoiding predatory drugs is paramount. If you are in a public setting or attending a function and do start to suddenly feel sleepy, disoriented and “out of it”, especially accompanied by loss of motor control, it is best to assume you have ingested a harmful agent and seek medical attention immediately.

Waiting a while to “see if I feel better” only robs you of precious time, time doctors will need to be able to help you!

In closing, and back to the gas station where the account of the lady’s story began, the most important thing to remember is to keep distance between yourself and strangers. You should always be wary of a stranger closing distance on you regardless of the stated reason, and especially when in an isolated environment! If you are followed drive to a busy well light area, or a police or fire station but not home, to a friends house, your place of work or any location your children will be at.

  • The avoidance of the predatory drugs and safe dating are amongst the many topics we cover in our Mom Daughter and College Safety Trainings.
  • Predatory Drugs are also addressed in our Travel Safety Training.
  • Please visit the Resources area of our site for more information on these and other topics

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“Date Rape Drugs” not always used for “Date Rape”

I just read of this story on abcnews.com home page today:

A California couple vacationing in Italy were the victims of a heartless scam artist.

Apparently the perpetrator struck up a conversation with them at a coffee shop and “after winning their trust” brought them each cappuccino. Both cups were laced with drugs to include sleeping pills.

After being robbed and obviously while heavily sedated, the male victim tragically was struck and killed by a train as he stumbled near some tracks. His wife was not hit by the train and after being treated at a hospital in Rome was released.

It is a tendency for us to think in “context” or to categorize. We hear the words “date rape drug”, or hear of the use of drugs to victimize people and we usually think of this in the context of a sexual assault against a female.

  • In our travel safety class we cover the risks of such drugs being used to incapacitate unsuspecting folks, especially tourists, for the sake of crimes such as robbery.

We also talk about “trust building” as a means by which someone will win your confidence so that you categorize them as “friend” and not “foe” leaving one the least bit suspicious that they would attempt to do you any harm.

Combined, the malicious use of powerful drugs such as Rohypnol, which can be obtained with a prescription in Europe, and trust building can leave anyone in trouble

A big burly commercial pilot I know told me of an incident where he was on a layover in Japan. After just fifteen minutes in a very posh bar in a swanky part of Tokyo, he began to feel light headed and “out of it” He immediately realized what was going on and walked the short distance to his hotel and the safety of his room just before he passed out cold.

In the case of the couple in Rome, the robber brought the coffees to his victims giving him the opportunity to slip in the drugs. In the pilots case, he felt the drug was put in his drink behind the bar before it was given to him.

You can never be too careful.

Larry Kaminer

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