11 Oct 12 Students Were Victims of Drug Assault at College Party
After an unconscious female student was found in a car parked at a local grocery parking lot on Friday night, police officers and sheriff’s deputies from Kittitas County, Washington were led to an alarming scene at a rented summer house.
About 50 college students from Central Washington University had attended a party at the Ellensburg home located 30 minutes from campus after a music event nearby that had featured 20 bands at three venues, according to the Associated Press. When concerned friends removed a female student from the party and drove off to a nearby shopping center, they feared the friend may have been overdosing on an unknown substance and called 911. While investigating the cause of the girl’s overdose, police located the home where the party was taking place and were required to break down the front door after no one responded to their requests. Despite the loud party scene heard by neighbors earlier in the night, police found the house filled with unconscious and semi-unconscious college students both inside and out. Party-goers, mostly college students between the ages of 18 and 21, later reported having only drank an average of 1–2 drinks, yet were found to be highly intoxicated. Some students were passed out, incoherent, or extremely sick, and vomit was found all over the house and lawn. Police reported multiple drug overdoses from an unknown substance—believed to be Rohypnol—that witnesses suspect may have been unwittingly mixed with a bottle of vodka which several party-goers had been sharing. Eleven female students and one male student were transported to the nearby hospital after having overdosed on the substance.
Rohypnol, or ‘roofies,’ is a tasteless, odorless, soluble drug commonly used in sexual assaults and has become known as the ‘date-rape drug.’ Witnesses at the party said that a bottle of vodka was used to make many mixed drinks for the students—mostly female—who became quickly sick after consuming small amounts of alcohol. Many of the female party-goers suddenly become faint or ill, and several began falling about or vomiting around the same time. The students reported that they never intended on becoming that intoxicated, unconscious, or overdosing, and police believed they were victims of a large scheme to render them all defenseless by use of the unknown substance. Party-goers who had brought their own alcoholic beverages or who were not consuming alcohol were unaffected. After treating the victims and locating the host of the party (a CWU freshman), an additional 35 other students were also interviewed by police.
Toxicology tests were done on the twelve patients who experienced overdose; after receiving medical treatment over the weekend, all twelve students were released from the hospital by Sunday. Police have requested an expedited toxicology report from the Washington State Patrol Laboratory; the person(s) responsible for spiking the beverages are still unknown at this time. After conducting a four-hour search of the residence, police were unable to find any illicit substances at the scene. Police later helped transport 27 students back to their dormitories on campus.
One man was found having sex with a semi-unconscious female and was apprehended by police. The woman was later identified as the man’s girlfriend after being treated for overdose at the nearby hospital. The police described the incident as a possible sexual assault that will continue to be investigated, but released the man without any charges at this time.
During the incident, some sober party-goers had attempted to help those who were injured by laying them down on sofas or mattresses, yet no one present had called 911.
CWU officials have issued a statement expressing their grief over the incident, but report that the victims of the crime are now safe. The campus urges all students to protect themselves while partying, such as traveling in groups and refusing open beverages. Campus officials have stated that state law and university policies regarding illegal activities will be enforced on those students responsible. Students involved in the criminal incident will be required to attend a conduct hearing. After official investigation of their actions, CWU may mandate intensive drug and alcohol educational courses, suspension, or expulsion if needed.
Sources: CNN, Women Targeted in Party Overdoses, October 10, 2010
The Associated Press, No Drugs Found at House Where 12 Fell Ill, October 10, 2010
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