By Laura Richards
It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. Your older teen or college-age child goes to a party and their drink is spiked. We typically think of young women falling victim to this, but getting roofied happens to young men too.
A 2016 study conducted at three U.S. college campuses found that approximately one in 13 college students report having been drugged or suspect that they were drugged via a spiked drink. Typically, these drugs are Rohypnol (slang term “roofie”), Xanax, or Ecstasy. There are, however, over a dozen substances used to spike a drink without anyone detecting it.
Chris Jensen, a dad from Ontario, Canada, lived that nightmare with his son.
Three years ago, Jensen’s strapping 21-year-old football quarterback son was at a bar to have drinks and dinner with four of his female friends. It was a busy night, and the bar was crowded. Jensen’s son and his friends left their table several times to get drinks, use the rest room and to dance. “At one point during the evening of dancing and getting drinks, my son began to feel ill. He left the table to head to the rest room,” says Jensen. “As he descended the stairs to the men’s room, he suddenly felt worse. The next thing he knew, he woke up at the hospital the next day.”
Jensen’s son had entered a stall in the men’s room and passed out. Another patron found him, notified the staff who called 911, and he was taken to the hospital. When the blood tests came back, they discovered his drink had been tampered with using Rohypnol. Jensen’s son had no explanation of why someone would do this. Except, perhaps, some guy wanting him out of the picture so that his female friends would be on their own and easier to approach.
“As a parent, it’s terrifying that it is so easy to drug someone. It shows that nobody is safe when their drinks are left unattended in public,” says Jensen. He was determined to do something about it.
Keeping Drinks Safe
Jensen is vice president of sales and marketing for Precidio Design, Inc. This company produces unique and functional drink and snack boxes for kids and adults on the go. “Precidio is a small company with five employees. And yet two of our staff have kids in their 20’s who have been the victims of roofies,” says Jensen. “We needed a way to enable people to control their drink in a public place. But we wanted people to still feel fashionable and not carry a big, clunky bottle.”
Their solution? A product called Drink in the Box Unique. A slim and sleek container that fits in a pocket, pack or purse, and when closed, is spill-proof. LiqrBox, a bar and lounge in Chicago, recently sought out Precidio’s Drink in the Box Unique to try it out. Matt Deichl, partner of LiqrBox, says they were looking for, “a fun, unique way to package alcoholic beverages with a cool design. Most typical bar glasses are boring. We thought Precidio’s technology was fun and inventive.” Deichl says the closed design was an added benefit. It keeps drinks safe and hygienic in a public place.
Jensen and his company hope that their product, available at Amazon.com, can also bring peace of mind to young adults and their parents.
Laura Richards is a freelance writer in the Boston area.