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Boston police urge caution at bars after reports of drugged drinks

Boston police are asking bar-goers to be vigilant after several people on social media said their drinks were spiked at local clubs.

In particular, police warned of several colorless, odorless drugs often used in these types of attacks, including Rohypnol (more commonly known as "roofies"), GHB and Ketamine.

"These drugs and substances can cause disorientation, confusion, temporary paralysis or unconsciousness along with a host of other symptoms, leaving the potential victim vulnerable to the intentions of the suspect," police wrote in a statement.

Anyone who sees suspicious activity, or suspects they or a friend has been drugged should call 911, according to the police statement. It did not cite whether the department had any leads on the attacks or what steps it was taking to prevent them.

Police asked that people stay in at least pairs to help prevent someone slipping in unseen to spike a friend's drink. They also offered the following tips to "help ensure your personal safety":

  • Make sure your drink comes directly from the bartender or server, and no one else has had a chance to touch it.
  • Always keep your drink with you and within your line of sight, even if that means taking it with you to the bathroom.
  • If you aren't looking at your drink, try to keep it covered with your hand. "Many creative inventions exist that can help you cover your drink," according to police.
  • There are test strips that will react in liquids laced with drugs. Police also cited special nail polishes that could detect drugs, but the company that touted that as a product never brought it to market. They instead make test strips similar to pregnancy tests, which they claim can detect drugs in a drop of liquid within three minutes. Other companies also make similar products.
  • "Get help immediately if you begin to feel dizzy, nauseated, light-headed or strange in any way."

According to Universal Hub, the Boston Licensing Board in April held hearings on reported incidents at several bars, but determined each took proper steps to try and prevent drink spiking.

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