Do you have a D.D.W. this St. Paddy's Day?
Usually St. Patrick’s Day calls for a D.D.—a designated driver.
But authorities say today, your sober friend’s job needs to evolve.
“The role of the designated driver has really enhanced over the years because of the rise of the date-rape drugs," said officer Ben Tobias of the Gainesville Police Department.
Now, it’s important to have a D.D.W.—designated drink watcher.
“There are so many people out there who want to do harm to other people,” Tobias said. “By just making sure you know where your drink is, you have control over it.”
Here is what the new D.D.W. job entails.
Don't let your friends lay down their drinks. Keep them in your sight.
Danny Zeenberg, manager of “The Social” actually tells his bartenders to throw away any drink that they see out of someone’s hand and laying on the bar.
“I would much rather the staff stay extra diligent and throw away 10 to 20 drinks on any given night than have to worry about one person’s safety and going home with an unfortunate incident,” Zeenberg said.
Even if the drinks is in hand, try to keep it covered and stay vigilant.
“Make sure that your drink is covered,” Tobias said. “Make sure you always know where your drink is.”
Drinks should never be accepted if it's not coming directly from the bar.
"We're very careful about serving people multiple drinks at a time,” Zeenberg said. “If one person comes to the bar and gets drinks for multiple people, we make sure everyone is accounted for so they don't get an extra drink, drug it, and try to find a victim who is willing to take a free drink."
And last, keep your friends from wandering.
The date rape drug has a short but strong life, making it hard for authorities to detect.
"By the time someone realizes they may have been drugged, the drug may be completely out of their system," Tobias said.
So this St. Paddy's Day, keep your friends close, but your drinks even closer.