Partying on Halloween includes a few responsibilities for students

Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown

Halloween is on its way as the leaves fall and jack-o’-lanterns appear on doorsteps. There are a few things students should be aware of as they put on their costumes.

Halloween and parties often stand side by side in a town full of college students. Ellie Trautman, coordinator for health promotion at the Wellness Center and adviser for HEROH, recommends that students plan ahead before going to a party or heading Downtown.

Some of Trautman’s recommendations included students planning to have a designated driver, not allowing themselves to be pressured into drinking more than they want, eating before they go out drinking and practicing the “buddy system.”

“It’s important to take care of yourself and your friends when you’re out,” Trautman said. “You must make the decision to protect yourself by not becoming too intoxicated.”

Safe Ride will have three buses running on Halloween. If students are unsure of the routes, throughout the night the buses will stop at 72-hour parking and students may get on there.

Deb Johnson, the clinical counseling supervisor for Student Health and Counseling, said that it is important to drink responsibly and for students to stay with their friends when they are drinking.

“Never leave your drink unattended,” said Johnson. “Make sure you know where the drink came from and who gave it to you.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has some tips to help both female and male students to understand the date rape drug.

The National Women’s Health Information Center Web site explains that there are three main kinds of “date rape” drugs. Rohypnol, GHB and Ketamine are drugs that have a powerful effect on the human body and can take effect within minutes. These date rape drugs can cause grogginess, nausea, loss of short-term memory, dizziness, loss of consciousness and in some cases, death.

These date rape drugs can cause a person to become weak and confused – or even pass out – so that they are unable to refuse sexual advances or defend themselves.

“College-aged women are four times more likely than any other person to be attacked,” Johnson said.

There are a few ways to detect some of the date rape drugs.

Rohypnol comes as a small pill and dissolves in liquids, but it turns clear liquids bright blue and causes dark liquids to appear cloudy. GHB can give a beverage a slightly salty taste but mixing it with sweet drinks like cola or fruit juice can mask it.

“If you are sexually assaulted, there is a sexual assault advocate available on campus, as well as guidance counselors available to students at no cost,” said Johnson.

Officer Cora Olson of the University Police Department offers a women’s self-defense course that is available to all women at no cost.

The self-defense course is 12 hours long and is usually split into four three-hour classes. Olson said she can schedule the classes around the group that requests it and usually has classes of 10 to12 people. The first two to three hours of the class are discussion and the rest is self-defense maneuvers that can be used.

Olson also speaks to small groups about laws and safety techniques for those who request it. To schedule a class or discussion, contact Olson at (605) 688-4150 or e-mail her at [email protected].