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    "Here Are The Symptoms I Wish I'd Known Beforehand": This 23-Year-Old Had Her Drink Drugged, And She Is Sharing Her Story To Help Others

    "We always tell people to protect their drinks, but we never tell them what happens after it happens."

    Meet Katherine Abughazaleh. Kat is 23 years old and resides in the Washington, DC, area. Recently Kat, after realizing that her drink had been spiked, shared her story on Twitter in a viral thread that has since been read and shared hundreds of thousands of times.

    Someone drugged my drink this weekend. Here’s are some symptoms of a spiked drink that I wish I knew beforehand (and was never told):

    Twitter: @abughazalehkat

    In her thread, Kat shared some of the symptoms she experienced in the hours after she unknowingly consumed a spiked drink, including "horrible brain fog, difficulty articulating thoughts, and a massive headache."

    The next morning was like no hangover I’ve ever experienced. Even similar symptoms were so much worse: - horrible brain fog - difficulty articulating my thoughts - massive headache - extreme sensitivity to light - throat pain (from the vomiting) - muscle weakness - nausea

    Twitter: @abughazalehkat

    BuzzFeed spoke to Kat to learn more about her experience having her drink spiked and her decision to share this story publicly. "When I woke up, I didn't even really accept that this had happened for two days," she told BuzzFeed. "And that was after talking to a doctor and googling incessantly. If I had known the symptoms, I would have gone to the hospital right when I woke up. We always tell people how to protect your drinks or how people spiked drinks, but we never tell them what happens after it happens, you know?"

    I just want people (especially women) to know that date rape drugs are not some rarity that only come out at frat parties. Someone can spike your drink even if you’re careful. And if something seems wrong the next morning, don’t second guess yourself.

    Twitter: @abughazalehkat

    Kat's thread received thousands of comments from people who had experienced the same thing, or knew someone who had.

    @abughazalehkat @deray I’m so sorry! The same thing happened to my daughter’s roommate. They got her home safely and quickly realized what happened and took care of her. I was glad they knew what to look for and what to do but WTF why do we have to live like this???

    Twitter: @Nancymagill

    There were also responses thanking Kat for sharing her experience honestly.

    @abughazalehkat Thanks for sharing. Trying to educate my girls on this before they get any older.

    Twitter: @scottbi70294144

    In order to find out more about drink spiking, BuzzFeed spoke to Dr. Ralph Riviello, who is the chair of emergency medicine at UT Health, San Antonio, and a past medical director of several sexual assault treatment programs. BuzzFeed also spoke to Pamela Donovan, author of the book Drink Spiking and Predatory Drugging: A Modern History.

    Riviello and Donovan offered BuzzFeed some general information about drink spiking, which we've outlined below.

    1. First and most important: If this happens to you, it is not your fault. In her initial thread, Kat opened up about the fact that one of her first reactions was to blame herself, to feel as if it was her fault "for not being careful." Kat told BuzzFeed, "I mean, I'm a part-time bartender. And I had no idea what actually happens when someone spikes your drink." As Riviello noted, the idea that it was somehow her fault could not be further from the truth. "My big pet peeve around drug-facilitated assault [or drink spiking] is that we don't put enough emphasis on the perpetrator. And we rely on the survivor to protect themselves," he said.

    I’m 23. I still bartend part-time. I know my alcohol tolerance. I know how to be safe with my drinks. And yet this still happened and I still feel like it’s my fault for not being careful.

    Twitter: @abughazalehkat

    Riviello told BuzzFeed, "It's not your job to protect yourself from people."

    2. Unfortunately, when it comes to identifying the symptoms to be on the lookout for...well, that can be difficult, because it ultimately depends on what sort of drug was used.

    A person sitting at a table holding a glass and looking out a window

    3. Next, said Riviello, a lot of people have a misconception about the types of drugs that are most often used in these situations. In reality, the drug is not always a "roofie," or something like Rohypnol. "People forget that alcohol can be used as a date rape drug, and that it's very common."

    A stock image of someone demonstrating dropping a drug into a drink

    4. Despite a lot of work done by organizations and experts around the world, it's difficult to have a firm sense of how often drink spiking actually happens because of a lack of testing and widely available information.

    Stock image of a gloved hand holding a drug testing kit

    5. As for preventing drink spiking, well, that's a tough one too. Riviello said, "I think we're stuck with women protecting themselves as much as possible." But, he added, that should not be mistaken for the idea that women are somehow responsible if their drink is spiked or if they experience drug-assisted sexual assault.

    A stock image of people holding glasses of presumed alcohol up to cheers

    Kat said of women, "We are trained to question ourselves. I did everything I could in my mind to bend all of these pretzels to be like, it was my fault somehow, or I'm just blowing this out of proportion — and, until my doctor was saying that's not normal, without even really considering the possibility of what happened. So women are definitely not trained for this. And we're blamed for so many things that happen to us, even if [we're] not at fault."

    She concluded, "Symptoms are just as important as the preventative measures. I mean, I could have died. [Knowing them] can save someone from that or anything else happening ... whether you're looking out for them in someone else or in yourself."

    Thank you so much to Katherine Abughazaleh, for letting us help tell her story, and to Dr. Ralph Riviello and Pamela Donovan for providing us with more information about drink spiking.

    If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE, which routes the caller to their nearest sexual assault service provider. You can also search for your local center here