MOUNT ORAB, Ohio -- Courtney Shaw was watching the Bengals take on the Buffalo Bills Sunday afternoon when the world around her began to disintegrate.
She had come to the game with her family, she said, and purchased a beer to enjoy while she cheered for the team. Shortly after she began to drink, Shaw felt her body rebelling against her in a way it had never done before.
"I lost control of my muscles," she said. "I couldn’t comprehend a single sentence, a simple statement from anyone. Within 30 minutes of me drinking it, I was completely blacked out."
She had not pre-gamed, she was on her first drink and she had only set her beer down in the stadium cup holder for a short time. There was no apparent explanation for her sudden disassociation from reality.
Her family took her home early and took her to bed, but Shaw didn’t feel any better when she woke up: Her skin was crawling and itching, she said, as though bugs had burrowed into it, and she could not recognize the room around her. Her texts for help were nearly incomprehensible, according to her boyfriend, Randy Chase.
"To wake up and not even know where I was when I was in my own home, in my own bed, was just terrifying," she said.
When Chase rushed her to Mercy Health, he and Shaw discovered the source of her sudden, alarming collapse: Her drink had been drugged at the football game. The doctor told her that she had likely been dosed with a fast-acting knockout drug similar to rohypnol.
Although Shaw’s friends and family helped her leave the game safely -- albeit with some scrapes and bruises from struggling to move under the drug’s influence -- she said she wanted to share her experience in order to remind others to be cautious.
"I don’t want somebody else to be put in this position," she said. "Don’t set your drink down. Ever. If you set it down and you’ve lost sight of it, $9 isn’t worth losing nine hours of your life."
Emily Parker, a spokesperson for the Bengals, said the team was concerned to learn that this kind of incident could happen in Paul Brown Stadium and would work with authorities to learn more about it.
"We have never had a report of a date rape drug during a game," Park said. "We have significant law enforcement and medical personnel throughout the stadium, so there are many ways for fans to seek help if they would need it."
She added that the team had encouraged Shaw to file a police report about the incident and would do its best to help authorities with their investigation.