The Vermont Cynic

Tuesday’s With Martha

Dear Martha, My friends and I like to go out on the weekend. We go to parties or downtown. We go as a group so we don’t usually worry about anything bad happening, but one girl said that her friend from home was raped after being given a date rape drug, she had no idea it was happening! What are date rape drugs and how would I know if someone gave me one? If I am drugged is there anything I can do? Signed, Worried, but I don’t want to stay home!Dear Worried,It is great that you travel as a group. People who are with friends are safer than ones who are alone. If you tend to drink alcohol, it would be best if at least one person didn’t drink to keep an eye out for the rest of you. Date rape drug are drugs that incapacitate the victim and in many cases, impair memory. There are 3 common date rape drugs, Rohypnol (roofies), GHB (liquid X) and Ketamine (Special K). Unfortunately, these usually dissolve easily in drinks and have little if any taste or appearance (maybe a little salty, a little foamy or a slight color change) so unless you witness someone putting it in your drink, you rarely know it is there until you start to feel the effects. They act quickly, usually within 15-30min. Initially, it can feel like you are buzzed, just more quickly than you would normally expect. Date rape drugs can cause loss of consciousness, coordination, impaired thinking and loss of memory. These effects can last between 6-12 hours. You may have been drugged if you are drinking alcohol and you feel more buzzed sooner than you think you should. If this happens, tell a friend and don’t mess, get medical attention immediately. It could be life threatening. Make sure that your urine is tested for the presence of these drugs. If you wake with a hang over, memory lapses and you feel uncomfortable in the genital area you may have been the victim of date rape and you need to be seen by a medical professional as soon as possible. To prevent being drugged, get your own drinks and watch them being made. Better yet, drink bottled beverages you open yourself. Keep your drink with you at all times. If you have to leave it, toss it. If your drink looks funny or tastes funny, don’t drink it. Remember, date rape drugs don’t have to be given in alcohol, it just makes you less wary. Stay alert and watch out for your friends. For more information visit the Center for Health & Wellbeing and Women’s Center websites www.uvm.edu/health/?Page=daterapedrug.html, www.uvm.edu/~women/?Page=sadrug.htmlSincerely,Martha

Tuesdays With Martha

Eating Disorder Week Letter Dear Martha, I am so frustrated. I came to college wearing a size 8 and looking good. I went home in December and none of my clothes fit and my friends and parents kept commenting on how much weight I had gained. I hate how fat I am, but I can’t seem to lose weight. I can stop eating for a while, but then someone orders a pizza and it is all over. I have been thinking about trying diet pills, but I have never done that before and it makes me a little nervous. What do you think? Signed, Pizza with a Side of Fries Dear Pizza’s not bad, It was a good choice to NOT take the diet pills. When people want to lose weight it is challenging and they turn to all sorts of things that don’t work and cause more problems than they solve. Diet pills come in different varieties, but the major ingredients are stimulants-caffeine and ephedrine. They decrease your appetite, but tolerance develops quickly and in the meantime there is an increased risk of high blood pressure and stroke. Ephedra or Ma Huang is a “natural” supplement that was popular until this Fall when it was taken off the market because of related deaths. Not a good weight loss plan! Some people take laxatives thinking that the more they shit the less weight they will gain. Unfortunately, this only gives you a sore bottom and a lazy bowel without any change in weight until you are too sick to care. There are some prescription medications available from your doctor for people who have severe weight problems, but even these have side effects and limited benefit. For instance, Orlistat, which inhibits the absorption of fat from what you eat, can cause incontinence (leaking poop) and increased gas. Sibutramine causes a sensation of early satiety (fullness), but can also cause high blood pressure, constipation and headaches. If you really think you need to lose weight, the best thing is to eat regularly a balance of foods so you don’t feel hungry and eat less than what it takes to maintain your weight. It helps to exercise regularly because it not only increases your metabolism, but makes you feel less hungry. I know this is easier said than done. Most people benefit from support and guidance. Whether you choose a group or individual consultation we can help direct you. Feel free to write back with additional questions.

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Tuesday’s With Martha