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      Date rape druggings on the rise

      They TMre generally odorless, tasteless, and colorless. They TMre predatory drugs --GHB, Ketamine, and Rohypnol"commonly known as roofies. When they TMre put in your drink they can render you unconscious in a matter of minutes.

      True North Executive Director Barbara Hodges works with women and children who are victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse. Hodges said of the so-called date rape drugs, "They are terribly dangerous. They don't even have any choice. It's not making a bad choice, they have control over any choice.

      "The last time you remember anything you were sitting at a bar with a group of friends and now you're in some strange apartment and your clothes aren't in the shape they were when you were in that bar. And you have no clue."

      There are steps you can take to be safe. Columbia Police Officer Jill Wieneke said, We really want to see young women have a designated friend who's not going to drink, going to make sure everyone gets home, no one leaves with a stranger, no one gets left in an alley."

      Hodges added, "Never accept a drink from someone you don't know. And don't accept a drink from out of a punch bowl because you don't know if the whole thing has been spiked."

      Wieneke said, "If you're going to a party; my best advice would be BYOB. Bring something that is sealed. Have it, keep it in your control so no one can tamper with it."

      Halloween weekend can be of particular concern. Hodges said, "Make sure they take off a mask if they've got it on. Find out who they are and don't go off with someone you've just met."

      Experts say if you think you might be a victim of drugging, do two things: Call police, and go to the hospital.

      Hodges said, "Don't take a shower. If you can resist going to the bathroom. Don't do that. Take all the measures to preserve any evidence on your body."

      Both Wieneke and Hodges said the quicker you can get to the hospital, the better chance evidence can be used to prosecute the offender.

      Resources are available nationally and locally for victims of predatory drugging:

      True North

      573-875-0503

      University of Missouri-Columbia's R.S.V.P.

      573-882-6638

      National Center for Victims of Crime

      1-800-394-2255

      Womens Health

      1-800-994-9662

      National Sexual Assault Hotline

      1-800-656-HOPE

      Drug Enforcement Administration

      Phone: 202-307-1000

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