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Know what you're drinking

October 25, 2013 - Jodelle Greiner
With this being National Red Ribbon Week, I’ve been thinking about something that happened in college my freshman year.

I came back to my dorm room to find that my roommate was throwing a party for a bunch of her friends. Next thing I knew, they told me they’d made hot chocolate and put a stick of peppermint in it. I was offered a cup and took a sip. One very small sip told me it was “bottle of peppermint,” as in peppermint schnapps.

I didn’t finish the hot chocolate, even though I’m a chocoholic. First, I don’t like the taste of alcohol, so I don’t drink — which they all knew very well. Second, I was mad at them for tricking me.

I needed to blow off some steam, so I told a friend of mine what had happened. She listened, concerned about what they had done. She told me she was also a non-drinker, but for a different reason. Several members of her family were alcoholics and since there’s some evidence of a genetic link, she was afraid that if she started drinking, she wouldn’t be able to stop.

For me, the consequences of drinking were a strong aftertaste and being ticked off at my roommate and her friends for their dishonesty. For my friend, being exposed to liquor could have begun a chain of alcoholism.

I’m still kind of mad all these years later.

For starters, it showed a complete lack of respect on their part for me and my decision not to drink. I did not appreciate that at all. It was underhanded and sneaky, not mature behavior in the least.

I’m fairly sure the schnapps was the only thing they added to the hot chocolate, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes, people have allergies or they are on medications that interact badly with either alcohol or other drugs. Those interactions can result in serious medical situations or even death.

Sometimes the drugs that get added are intended to incapacitate people, especially young women. There have been a couple of cases in the news lately of teenage girls who drank something at parties and then were sexually assaulted after they passed out. It is NEVER okay to take advantage of someone who’s unconscious, but my advice to young women is be careful what you drink and how much. Never drink from a common bowl and never drink anything that someone has handed you, even if it’s only water. Always drink from a container you have opened yourself. If you take your eyes off your drink, leave it and get another.

If you are tempted to dump something into a punch bowl or someone else’s drink because you think it’s funny, be warned: you could face charges. Depending on what you put in the other person’s drink and what happens to them, you could face charges ranging from assault to negligent death or manslaughter, said LaMar Piper of the Faribault County Attorney’s office.

“If they got hurt, you’d have all kinds of charges, criminal and civil,” he said. And damages could total in the tens of thousands of dollars, he added.

Play it safe: know what you’re drinking and don’t mess with other people’s drinks. The cost could be too high.

For more information about how to fight substance abuse, visit or stop by the 5-K Fun Run at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Adolescent Treatment Center in Winnebago or visit their site online.


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