With Halloween coming up, many people will be out at crowded bars and clubs. Unfortunately, these nights provide more opportunities for drink tampering and substances being slipped into drinks. Here are two real stories of drink tampering in Japan, along with factual information and tips on staying safe when you’re out.
Story 1: A Night That Ended Too Early
A woman was having fun dancing with friends at a club in Roppongi. She doesn’t remember much after accepting a drink from a male stranger around 11pm. Her friends said she suddenly became disoriented, so they got her a taxi home before midnight.
The next day, she realized something was wrong – she had only had 3 drinks herself before the one from the stranger, so she should not have become disoriented that early. She believed her drink was tampered with by some kind of substance. However, since most substances clear the system within 72 hours, there was no point in getting tested.
Story 2: A Trusted Friend’s Betrayal
A woman was hanging out at her apartment with a male friend, drinking and watching TV. Her friend offered to open a drink for her while she set up the DVD player. She took a few sips but started feeling strange quickly – hallucinations, blurred vision, and loss of consciousness.
She has vague memories of being taken advantage of by her friend while she was incapacitated. The next day, she reported the crime to the police and got tested. Case is still ongoing. Her full story here.
The victim offered these services for people that might need the support.
- Hotline to receive support and escort to the police station and hospital
- English speaking counseling and therapy
It Can Happen to Anyone
While women are common targets, drink tampering can happen to anyone – men as well. Sometimes the goal is to take advantage of the victim. Other times, the perpetrators are looking to commit theft or credit card fraud.
There have been cases of men accepting drinks at bars in places like Roppongi, only to later find thousands of dollars charged to their credit cards without their knowledge or consent.
The key is to always be vigilant in crowded party settings and never accept drinks from strangers.
Common Substances Used
These types of substances are sometimes used to incapacitate victims:
|Rohypnol||Sedative, causes memory loss and loss of muscle control|
|GHB||Depressant, induces euphoria but unconsciousness in high doses|
|Ketamine||Anesthetic, leads to disorientation, confusion, amnesia|
|Zolpidem||Sleep aid, causes drowsiness and memory loss|
|Alcohol||Not an incapacitating substance but sometimes used to tamper with drinks|
Tips for Staying Safe
Here are tips to avoid drink tampering and stay safe:
- Watch your drink being poured and keep it with you. Never leave it unattended.
- Avoid accepting drinks from strangers. Only take drinks directly from the bartender.
- Use drink stoppers or covers that prevent tampering.
- Go out with trusted friends who will look out for you. Agree to watch each other’s drinks.
- Don’t drink anything that tastes strange or makes you feel ill.
- Have an exit plan if you feel disoriented or confused.
- Consider getting your drink tested if you suspect it was tampered with.
Stay alert and look out for each other this Halloween!