Watch your beer when enjoying holiday cheer

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs Office
Airmen are briefed about the Air Force's zero tolerance for drug abuse, but even if an Airman adheres to the policy, narcotics are still a threat in Las Vegas.

During the holidays, service members may choose to spend their time with loved ones and friends in social settings. Las Vegas has an abundance of clubs, bars and festivities where drug use could be happening that could pose a threat to Airmen. Tech. Sgt. Amy Hartman, 99th Medical Operations Squadron alcohol drug abuse prevention and treatment NCO in charge, said that following your instinct in unfamiliar situations is a good way to ensure your safety.

"A lot of places aren't advertising [selling drugs]," Hartman said. "I normally tell people that if you go somewhere and you get a bad feeling, go with that. It's time for you to leave."

There is the possibility that strangers or people you may know might attempt to slip a narcotic in your drink to make it easier to inflict harm or take advantage of someone's drugged state.

"If you are going to drink, drink responsibly," Hartman said. "Don't leave your drink with friends or people you just met. If you feel that someone might have drugged you, immediately go to the emergency room, and have them test you. Make sure you report the event to your chain of command."

There is one key way to avoid becoming a victim of narcotics when in a social setting.

"Choose your friends wisely," Hartman said. "Make sure you aren't hanging out with someone abusing drugs, and keep an eye on your [drink]. Don't get up and leave your drink unattended. If you are able to, watch the bartender because [he or she] might be a part of a scam with someone else. You just don't know."

According to the FBI's official website, raves are one of the most common venues where drugs are used and are distributed frequently. They are often advertised as "alcohol free" parties with hired security employees. Internet sites often advertise these events as "safe" and "drug free."

Raves can be dangerously over-crowded and attendees can be exposed to rampant drug use and a high-crime environment. Numerous overdoses are documented at these events.

Drugs can have many effects to include anxiety, panic, depression, euphoria, loss of memory, hallucinations and psychotic behavior. It's important to identify indicators of someone under the influence of narcotics so he or she can get medical attention.

Even if an Airman lives a clean, drug-free lifestyle, they should be aware that narcotics are still a threat to themselves, their family and their friends. Holidays are usually spent enjoying the company of those close to you, but when enjoying them in clubs keep your drink just as close.