What To Do If You’ve Been Drugged

Some signs that you might have been drugged:

  • You feel drunker than you should given the amount of alcohol you’ve consumed.
  • You wake up feeling fuzzy and you can’t remember all or part of last night.
  • You remember having a drink, but you can’t remember what happened after you finished it.
  • You feel like you’ve had sex, but you don’t fully remember the encounter.

Alcohol is more commonly used by perpetrators to facilitate sexual assault than other drugs, making it the most common rape drug. Most "date rape drugs" leave the body within 24 to 72 hours, so it is important to get a drug test as soon as possible after the assault has occurred. If you aren’t able to get tested in time, you can still file sexual assault charges if you wish. There may be other evidence that indicates you were sexually assaulted, regardless of whether you can prove you were drugged at the time.

For drug testing and/or examination after a sexual assault, contact:
Meriter Hospital’s SANE program (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) 608-267-5916
After 5 pm and on weekends, call Meriter Emergency Services, 608-267-6206. Ask to speak to the SANE nurse.

Ways out of a dangerous situation

If you are at a party, club, bar, or some other place where you might be put at risk, and you start to feel out of control, there are a few things you can do right away:

  • Look for a friend or someone else you can trust. If possible, tell her or him to take you to a hospital or call 911. If you can’t talk, try to show your friend that you feel sick. If you have to, throw up. Your friend will get the message.
  • If you can get to a phone, call 911. The police should be able to register your location even if you can't talk. If possible, find a friend to go with you.
  • If you think you’ve been drugged, do not leave by yourself. You need to have other people around in case you lose consciousness.

Strategies for safety

There are several things you can do whenever you go to a party, club, or bar, or on a date to reduce the risk that you will be a victim of rape or sexual assault. Keep in mind that if you do not do these things, being a victim of sexual assault is never your fault.

If you are drinking alcohol:

  • Be aware of your ability to tell someone else what you want and to respond to what they want. During a sexual encounter, you need to be able to communicate clearly with your partner. Can you be sure that everything that happens is consensual?
  • Know your limit. How many drinks can you have before you no longer trust your decisions? How many drinks can you have before you are unable to communicate clearly about what you do and don’t want?
  • Don’t accept a mixed drink or an opened container from anyone. If someone offers you a drink, watch it being made. If you are unsure about any of the ingredients, don't drink it. Open all bottles and cans yourself.
  • Avoid sharing or trading drinks with anyone.
  • Don’t drink from a punch bowl or from a container being passed around.
  • Be in control of your drink. If there has been any opportunity for someone to spike your drink, dump it. Do not leave your drink sitting out for someone else to find.
  • Don’t drink anything that looks or tastes unusual or suspicious. Be on the alert for excess saltiness or bitterness, unexplained residue, or odd colors or textures.

Other tips:

  • Go to parties in groups, and appoint a sober person for your group. Check up on your group of friends throughout the night.
  • If one of your friends shows signs of being drugged, leave the party and make sure he or she is safe. Don’t allow him or her to “sleep it off.” If necessary, call 911, or take your friend to a hospital immediately. Under UW-Madison’s Responsible Action Guidelines, you will not be issued a citation for underage drinking if you are helping someone who is the victim of a crime or is in need of emergency medical attention.
  • If you see someone spiking a drink, do something about it. Dump the drink, bring attention to the situation, and talk to the host of the party.
  • Warn your friends about clubs or parties where date rape drugs have been used. Avoid high-risk areas.
  • Be a savvy traveler. If you are traveling somewhere over break or to study abroad, you will probably find yourself in an unfamiliar place. Before you leave, make sure you know how to stay safe in the place you’re traveling to:
    • Are there certain areas of the city you’ll be staying in that are known to be especially dangerous?
    • Find out the emergency numbers for the area and keep them on hand.
    • Do you have a way to safely carry valuables and important documents?
    • Do you have basic information about the culture of the place you're traveling to?
    • These questions apply to anywhere you go, inside or outside the United States. If you’re going to another country, check out the safety guidelines for the country to which you’ll be traveling.