Dear Diary,

I couldn’t wait for Saturday. A friend was DJ-ing at Passage, one of the most famous clubs in Vienna. After a couple of introductory drinks at my place, we headed towards the club.

The atmosphere was hot – in both senses. It was packed and our friend Alex the DJ was just about to come on. As I took a seat at our table, I spied some friends across the room, put down my things and headed off making the rounds to say hi.

At every stop, someone mixed me a drink. I didn’t feel like drinking much that night; I had a taste and excused myself: “I’ll just leave my drink here and be back later…”

So I spent the evening circling the room, avoiding drinks and dancing. Around 4:00 am, I suddenly started feeling sick. I couldn’t feel my legs and thought I was going to faint. A friend noticed, grabbed my belongings and took me out for air.

But my condition was rapidly deteriorated. My mind was working – more or less – but I couldn’t walk straight nor see anything. I was bumping into people, falling on the stairs, and slamming into closed doors. I felt helpless. Outside, my friend set me on a bench and gave me a glass of water. As suddenly as the sickness had come, it left, leaving me completely soaked, as if I just had a shower.

I was in shock!  I knew I wasn’t drunk since I hadn’t had more than those few sips. I don’t do drugs. I had eaten normally. So what was wrong?

My friend was worried. He stopped a taxi and placed me inside. By now, the fainting feeling had left; I wasn’t feeling sick anymore, but I wasn’t well either. It was a strange feeling. As soon as I got home I “hugged” my toilet. After showering I went to bed and slept for 27 hours.

First thing Monday morning I went to the pharmacy and bought the drug test. I wasn’t sure if any traces would have stayed in my system so long but the pharmacist was encouraging.

I tested positive for Rohypnol, commonly known as “Roofies,” from a family of Flunitrazepam. This drug is mostly used as a hypnotic, a sedative or an anti-anxiety drug, but also as an amnesiac and a skeletal muscle relaxant. The classic date-rape drug.

A 2007 report on the drug situation in Austria by the EU and the Austrian Health Ministry acknowledged that abuse of prescription drugs has increased in the past three years while use of illegal drugs has decreased. It is difficult to estimate just how many flunitrazepam-facilitated rapes have occurred in the past. It is not illegal if the doctor prescribes it, and it is easy to purchase on the streets.

I have tried to analyze the events of the evening to see if I can remember anyone acting strangely or following me around. But I can’t; my memory is a bit blurry, and the club was jammed.

In the end, I realized I had simply been very lucky.

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