UF Police Department investigating reports of spiked drinks

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Campus police at the University of Florida are urging vigilance among students when going out to area bars after multiple reports of drinks being spiked in the past 30 days.

Police did not give an specific locations.

“We just want to put the word out and let everybody know to just be careful out there. Watch what you are doing and watch your drink,” said Capt. Rick Taylor, UF Police Department public information officer.

News4JAX spoke with students outside several UF bars Friday night.

“It’s pretty scary and concerning,” said Astrid Rojas. “Every time I go I have anxiety and I’m very vigilant of my drink.”

“I can say that I had a friend freshmen year who thought she was roofied, so I can speak from experience that it does happen,” said Lindsey Zarnick.

“I keep an eye on my drink no matter what,” said Gainesville resident Anna Morera. “But I’m glad the word is getting out to keep more people safe.”

Sheila Connoly has three nieces that attend UF. News about drinks being spiked at bars across Gainesville is very concerning for her.

“I’m just going to tell them to be mindful. Never leave their drink uncovered. Always watch it,” Connoly said.

Police say if you see what appears to be someone putting something in a drink, you need to immediately report it to the bartender, someone working security or police, as many officers will often be on patrol near the bars.

“Different people’s bodies will react to different drugs in different ways and some very serious health issues could occur depending what they get and how much of it is in the drink,” Taylor explained.

The Gainesville Police Department also issued a warning on its Facebook page with the following tips from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

  • Be aware of drinks in punchbowls or other containers that can be easily “spiked”.
  • Don’t accept drinks from other people. If someone offers to get you a drink from a bar or at a party, go with the person to order your drink. Watch your drink as it is poured and carry it yourself.
  • Open your drink yourself. Keep control of it at all times.
  • Don’t drink anything that smells strange. Stop drinking any drink that tastes strange. Some date rape drugs may taste salty or bitter, but most are tasteless and odorless.
  • Be aware of someone who wants you to drink more than you want to.
  • Get help right away if you feel drunk and haven’t had any alcohol or if you feel like the effects of drinking alcohol are stronger than usual. Find a friend who can help you get to a safe place.
  • Look out for your friends, and ask them to look out for you. You can play a powerful role in helping other people stay safe. If a friend seems out of it, seems much too drunk for the amount of alcohol they drank, is acting out of character, or seems too drunk to stay safe in general, get them to a safe place.

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