‘Date Rape drug’ scare on Campus

Originally published in Volume V, Issue 2 on 14th October by Lucy Michael.

 

A new date rape drug was used last week to spike the drink of a female student in UCD. The drug which was used in an attack caused the student to suffer a number of severe and lasting side-effects and resulting in her admission to hospital the same night.

The female undergraduate was drinking with friends in the Sports Bar early on Monday evening when the incident occurred. It is believed that the drug was slipped into her drink when she left the table for a few minutes. One of the barmen on duty that evening said, “there was about a hundred students in the bar at that time. They were mainly UCD students and sports club members. We were aware of nothing out of the ordinary.”

The attack caused the girl to suffer a series of fits and blackouts. It is probable that she also experienced several hours of paranoia attacks. She consequently collapsed in the car-park outside the Sports Centre, and an ambulance was called at 7:30 pm, whereupon she was transported to St. Vincent’s Hospital and admitted to Casualty. It has since been confirmed, by the immediate family of the girl involved, that she has suffered permanent liver damage from the attack. The identity of the student remains confidential, but her family contacted a member of staff at the University Observer so that other students might be aware of the incident.

The drug used is believed to have been a tablet of ecstasy cut with Ketamine, an anaesthetic used mainly in animal surgery, and which would cause severe liver damage when mixed with ecstasy and alcohol. This mixture has been prevalent in Dublin since the manufacturers of Rohypnol introduced a safety dye to their sedative drug two months ago and is, according to pharmacist Aideen Murphy “the new date rape drug” in Dublin. Designed to prevent its use in date-rape attacks, the blue-dyed tablet has forced attackers to turn to other drug mixtures instead. These have similar sedative effects and many cause permanent physical damage to the victim.

Gardai at Donnybrook Garda Station say “these attacks are getting common. Rohypnol is the usual drug, although there are so many other drugs used in Dublin. We go through spates of it. At the beginning of the college term we usually see one or two cases of this type, and then it peaks again at Christmas. It also appears at the time of the Leaving Cert.”

These numbers are of cases reported in the Dublin South Central District alone, from Irishtown, Pearse St. and Donnybrook stations. Most cases however remain unreported because of the victims lack of memory, and embarrassment that they may just have been exclusively drunk.

Two other female UCD students are also known to have suffered similar attacks in the Dublin area during the past year.