Ahead of St. Patrick's Day Weekend, Boston Police Urge Vigilance Against Drugged Drinks

Police in Boston are warning people to watch out for anyone attempting to spike drinks during St. Patrick's Day celebrations at bars, restaurants and parties

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As the city prepares to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, the Boston Police Department is warning people to watch their drinks carefully.

At the Lincoln Tavern in South Boston, the crew was ready Thursday for the revelry.

"It's a big weekend," said executive chef John Ross.

The annual Southie celebrations are a sign of brighter days ahead.

"This is a huge weekend for not just the city, but all restaurants, bars, trying to get started in the spring and roll into when Boston is really where it's at," said Ross.

This year, though, the festivities come with a warning from police to be alert to the dangers of drugged drinks at bars, restaurants and parties.

"There's certain bars where we know the bartenders, and so you kind of know they're looking out for you," said South Boston resident Caroline Sumner. "And at other bars where you're not as familiar, you have to have your guard up even more."

People are being urged to keep an eye out for anyone attempting to spike drinks, slipping drugs into them to make victims disoriented, lose consciousness and be easily taken advantage of.

"I usually get cans instead of mixed drinks, because it's harder to spike those," said Maeve Hennigan.

NBC10 Boston reported on a sharp rise in these types of cases in Boston last year.

Ilana Katz Katz says she was a victim at a venue in Cambridge in the fall.

"After a few sips of a drink, I collapsed and ended up in the emergency room," said Katz Katz.

She's now an advocate for change, pushing for mandatory protocols for venues to assist victims in distress and report incidents to police, and making testing standard for these types of drugs when a possible victim comes into the emergency room.

"It has changed my life forever," she said. "I'm 56 years old, I didn't expect to be dealing with this."

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