Students at UNB and STU warned about drink spiking

Have you ever gone out to the bar and left your drink unintended? Or perhaps you just looked away for a second? Three female students were hospitalized after they suspected their drinks had been spiked.

An email was sent to students on March 4, nightlife safety and drink spike was the subject line.

The communications director for St. Thomas University, Jeffery Carleton, drafted the email after the incidents were reported to campus security.

“We are sharing this safety message from UNB Security about nightlife safety and being aware of the potential for drink spiking.  While drink spiking is illegal and any onus is not being placed on potential victims, we wanted to share these steps to increase your personal safety,” wrote Carleton.

The email went on to say that they wanted students to take pre-cautions regarding drink safety.

“We have had disclosures from students of suspected drink spiking incidents that have resulted in emergency room care, stated the email.”

Carleton could only confirm that the incidents occurred two weeks prior to the March break, a clearer timeline couldn’t be determined by STU journalism.

Despite the email, students and staff of the nightclubs on campus are worried.

Matt Harris, on of the managers of the clubs on campus, said he just wants his staff and patrons to be safety.

Harris said that the uncertainty of when the incidents happens make the situation much worse.

“The issue of drink spiking on campus has been around for some time. Ascertaining when the first reported case was recorded on campus would bring light to that question,” said Harris.


Students are urged to keep an eye on their drinks
Students are urged to keep an eye on their drinks. 

But moving forward, Harris said security and safety are the main property for him and the staff.

Harris said in the past they used lids as part of their management strategy but customers were not using them, so he thinks there is another direction security could be taking.

“One idea would be to create an identification training program and make it available to the Campus Bars, Student Union Building Staff, Proctors, Campus Police and interested students,” said Harris.

He said that it would mean people would be trained to identify when an individual was in distress and the steps necessary to make sure that person is safe after leaving the bar.

But he said there is more to it then just that.

“Educate Victims that they have not done anything wrong and to get help immediately. Getting Students to come forward and report occurrences quickly so that they can be investigated in a timely manner would help everyone,” he said.

Brandon Nitz, who is a student and bartender and the Cellar Pub, said he thinks that this is a group effort and everyone needs to be involved in keeping people safe.

“Simply put, just, stay with your drink don’t let it leave your hands, your sight, make sure you know where it is at all times, make sure you’re with a group of friends that you trust, so you know no strange people are walking around you, things like that,” he said.

Nitz said as a bartender, he can help too.

“Worse comes to worse, if you have to leave your drink unattended, I’m a bartender, I work at the bar, bring it up to the bar, we’ll gladly take it for you, we have ah, shelf underneath where we make our drinks, where we can keep it safe, so only you can get it when you come back,” said Nitz.

UNB Social Club/Matt Harris
UNB Social Club/Matt Harris

Despite the incidents, there are no plans to implement any extra security or policy at the nightclubs on campus.

Harris wants everyone to be safe, and he said quickly reporting incidents helps. Being aware, and keep your drink safe also helps.

“Quick action would potentially save others in the future,” said Harris.