Parties are supposed to be fun. It’s when you catch up with the squad and loosen up. But what happens when things take a turn and you see a friend who you suspect has been drugged? If you’re at a big event, there are usually paramedics on standby. That’s if you’re lucky. If, however, you’re at a smaller party, would you know what to do next?
We spoke to Dr. Kristine Traqueña-Lor, a resident at Makati Medical Center, and Dr. Tara Oliveros Dela Cruz, a physician at Bulacan Medical Center, about what you need to keep in mind when your friend has been drugged or poisoned.
If your friend collapses or is unable to stay conscious long enough to tell you what happened, you need to bring her to the ER. No questions asked. Unfortunately, we don’t have a Filipino equivalent of a 911 hotline. It’s different for every city. You can check for your region’s emergency hotline here.
According to Dr. Oliveros Dela Cruz, "Do not try to induce vomiting. Do not force him or her to drink any liquid. To be sure, just bring your friend to the nearest ER."
Both doctors talked about the importance of searching the area where the poisoning took place. Look for substances or containers that may have caused the poisoning. The earlier the drug is identified, the sooner your friend can be treated.
At the emergency room, doctors or personnel will usually inquire about the following:
- Type and amount of poison (to establish toxicity)
- Time of exposure to drug
- Mode of exposure: oral (pill-intake), inhalational (smoked), dermal (through the skin)
- Intake of other substances that may contribute to intoxication (like alcohol)
- Circumstances prior to poisoning
- Past medical history and current meds
Patients with a history of drug overdose or poisoning will be observed at a healthcare facility, even if they don’t have any symptoms yet.
Keep these in mind the next time you party with friends. It is important to educate yourself and exercise caution at all times and in all situations.
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