A letter to college women from an ER nurse

I work in an ER in a college town. Have for years. The students are back, and the same avoidable tragedies are happening that happen every year. If you are a young woman and are planning to drink or experiment with drugs, or if you know one, please read on.

  • The date rape drug is not a myth. If you don't think you drank enough to black out, but you did, someone might have raped you. If you ever put your drink down, EVER, you run this risk.
  • If you drink enough to impair your judgment, you may end up with some nasty consequences. A one-night stand can leave you with things like herpes or AIDS, which never go away. Or you may be one of the half-naked, bruised, baffled-looking barefoot girls brought in by the police for a rape kit because you don't know what happened. Google some photos of genital herpes. I'm serious. This is an option you're giving yourself, so you should know the risks.
  • You can choke on your own vomit and die. Gross, but true. When you drink enough to pass out and lose your gag reflex, your puke slides right down into your lungs and drowns you. Your college days will come to an abrupt halt if you're on a ventilator or dead. Wouldn't football games and classes be more fun?
  • Think about how sexy you'll look in a diaper, because if you get drunk enough to come to the ER you'll be peeing all over yourself and you'll leave in one. They look pretty dumb under those long belts you all call skirts.
  • If you pass out, anyone can do whatever they want to you. Imagine waking up on the pavement somewhere with torn, dirty clothes and semen from three boys on your legs. Yes, I've seen it happen. Think your friends will watch out for you? If they're drinking, their judgment is about the same as yours.

I won't even start on drinking and driving. You've all heard that drilled in to your heads. But the raped, beaten, drugged girls I see all seem so shocked that this could happen to them. "Why would someone do this to me?" Because they can. The world is not necessarily a friendly place, and young drunk girls are a very, very easy target.

I very much mean to scare you. Value yourself. Protect yourself. View going out and drinking too much like walking onto a battlefield unarmed, because that's about how vulnerable you are. Would you walk through a field of landmines just for fun? Of course not. So be careful. Be paranoid. I never want to meet any of you in the ER.