“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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