More people have called the area’s rape hotline in recent weeks to report they felt they were drugged at Myrtle Beach area clubs and restaurants.
“We’ve seen an increase in that specific type of reporting in the last two months or so,” said Nicole Service, volunteer coordinator with the Rape Crisis Center of Horry and Georgetown counties.
The jump occurs during each summer as Service said there are more people in the area, therefore more reports. There hasn’t been an increase in sexual assault calls.
The commonly known “date rape” drugs — Rohypnol, GHB and others — are often put into someone’s drink and can make a person black out or lose inhibition. Service said the most common date rape drug is alcohol.
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Service said that when people call the hotline they will sometimes say they were drinking, but didn’t feel they had enough to black out. That is coupled with an experience such as waking up with different clothes or physical soreness, which leads someone to believe they were drugged.
The center tries to inform callers about their next options, including getting physical treatment at an area hospital, talking with counselors or reporting to police.
“If something does happen, A) it’s not your fault,” Service said.
If someone needs to report a rape-related issue, they can call the center’s hotline at (843) 448-7273 in Horry County and (843) 545-5198 in Georgetown County.
Myrtle Beach Police Capt. Eric DiLorenzo said the department has not seen a jump in drugging reports.
“We are not seeing an increase in these types of cases,” he said.
The discrepancy between reports by police and the Rape Crisis Center could be because the center is not required to inform the police, DiLorenzo said. Callers might be more comfortable talking and might not want to get police involved.
The department encourages people to report suspected drugging, even if it happened in the recent past, DiLorenzo said. The reports allow police to see if there are any trends or take measures to stop the crime.
If people are out they should travel in groups, not leave drinks unattended and trust their instincts, DiLorenzo said.