The Dark Side of Spring Break

Emily Smith

WARNING: This article contains sensitive information that may be a trigger to some in our audience; please proceed with caution.


Spring break can be a time for fun, leisure, and relaxation for people in need of some R&R. But does all of that come with a cost? Shocking reports of tainted alcohol and sexual abuse scandals pour out of different resorts every season. Despite all the sunshine, there can be a dark side to spring break.


Many Americans opt for the all inclusive resort for their spring break getaway, but these trips are not always as glamorous as they seem. An all-inclusive deal typically means that a vacationer pays a certain flat rate, and once at the resort, all food and drink come at no extra charge. Sounds like the perfect getaway? Not so much. Since July, over 120 travelers have reported cases of falling ill due to tainted alcohol in these resorts. Tainted alcohol is liquor that’s been tampered with drugs or a mixture of drugs. The most common drug mixed in the alcohol is PCP and in other cases methaqualone, which is a sedative and hypnotic medicine. With these drugs mixed in people’s beverages, it only takes one or two drinks for a person of drinking age to blackout or even just become tipsy. Incidents have included travelers having one drink, jumping into the pool, and drowning due to loss of consciousness. Others have fallen off balconies and have broken bones. This is extremely dangerous and the U.S. government released various travel warnings to Americans traveling to these destinations. They advise Americans to avoid drinking in excess, to not accept drinks from strangers, and to monitor their drinks being made (US State Department).


Another serious problem with spring break is rampant sexual assault. According to CNN, three years ago in Panama City Beach, Florida, two men were videotaped assaulting and raping an unconscious women at a beach party. The victim, drugged earlier in the day, was stumbling and slurring her words when she eventually passed out in the middle of a crowd. Delonte Martistee and Ryan Calhoun, with the encouragement of the crowd and the victim’s boyfriend, began to rape her. Both men were then charged with ten years in prison. This situation is horrifyingly common. Rape happens all over, to all sorts of people. It can happen to all genders and all ages, and isn’t limited to strangers; people we know and people just like us can be victims. Staying diligent can be an important tool in protecting yourself.


The weeks leading up to Spring break can stir much excitement around the halls. Many Nerinx girls, especially seniors, travel to places like Cancun or Panama City Beach for their Spring break getaways. Seniors often travel in big groups for the unofficial “Senior Spring Break”. Many of us traveling to places like Cancun have had meetings to discuss safety procedures that we can take. For example, we all will be traveling in groups of two, checking in with our chaperones, and constantly watching out for each other.

Spring break should be a time for relaxation, but for women especially, it can be a time of potentially dangerous situations. What can you do to protect yourself? Don’t give in to the stress of constantly looking over your shoulder. Don’t avoid adventure. Do make good choices and be aware this Spring Break, watching out for yourself and your travel companions.