According to a recent investigation, individuals traveling to all-inclusive resorts in Mexico are drinking moderate amounts of alcohol, only to black out not long afterward. While blacked out, these same individuals have reported being assaulted, injured, and robbed, and once they regain consciousness, they can’t recall anything that happened prior to drinking.
In one unfortunate instance, 20-year-old Abbey Connor recently died after being found face-down in a swimming pool while vacationing with her mother and stepfather in the Mexican town of Playa del Carmen. An investigation later determined that Abbey had suffered a broken collarbone and was brain dead before she ultimately died from her injuries at a hospital in Florida. The two young people were found just two hours into the family vacation. Austin survived, suffering a concussion and a lump on his head the size of a golf ball, and stated that he and his sister had been drinking prior to going swimming, but he was unsure exactly how many drinks they had. He maintains that he doesn’t believe what happened to his sister was an accident, and that all he remembers was the two of them being at the bar with another group and the bartender had poured a line of shots. Both he and Abbey each took one, they said, and Austin said he remembers sitting down and talking before the lights went out, and he suddenly woke up in an ambulance. Abbey and Austin’s mother and stepfather have since announced they plan to file a lawsuit.
Other individuals who obtained medical care stated that large amounts of cash were demanded from them up-front and that they were also not treated very well. Additionally, when they attempted to report any crime to the police, they say officials at the resorts they were staying at discouraged them from doing so, and the police were also reluctant to file any actual reports.
The U.S. State Department also states that there isn’t much that they can do to help with the situation either, as they aren’t able to offer any legal advice or translate. Additionally, they can’t force hospitals in Mexico to do anything to provide help to citizens of the United States.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the Mexico “blackouts.”
Where Exactly Has This Been Happening?
This specific information has not been tracked by the U.S. State Department; however, reports have been given by individuals who have stayed in locations including Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Cozumel, Los Cabos, and Puerto Vallarta.
Which Resorts Have Experienced This?
While there are a list of resorts provided by various individuals where these types of incidents have taken place, the U.S. State Department has not tracked this information either. Some of these resorts include the following:
- Iberostar Paraiso del Mar
- Iberostar Paraiso Maya
- Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso
- Iberostar Cancun
- Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya
- Hard Rock Hotel Cancun
- Grand Oasis Cancun
- Secrets Akumal
- Riviera Maya
- Luxury Bahia Principe Sian Ka’an
- Grand Velas
When Did These “Blackouts” Take Place?
According to reports from those affected, these “blackouts” took place over the past 18 months; however, there are other incidents that date back a few years.
What Specific Types of Alcohol May Be to Blame?
Those affected by these “blackouts” stated that they mainly drank shots of tequila, while others had various types of mixed drinks such as rum and Coke or margaritas. There were also cocktails such as the Purple Rain and Mexican Flag involved, though individuals were unsure as to what the specific ingredients of these drinks were. Others stated that they only had basic draft beer to drink. It has been known that Mexico’s government has been aware of different types of alcohol issues throughout the country, as approximately 36% of the beverages consumed are actually illegal. This means that the beverages are either produced or sold under conditions that are not properly regulated.
Are Tourists Being Specifically Targeted?
Many tourists have stated that they blacked out, sometimes with their spouse or a friend, and woke up later on not feeling hung over. They also have no memory of what even happened to them. Others also claim they felt mentally fuzzy or numb a day or two after the incident. Individuals who were not affected themselves, yet witnessed their friends or spouses going through an incident, reported the following symptoms:
- Mouth/nose foaming
- Vomiting violently
- Pale skin
- Appearing to be near death
- Appearing to be lost
- Unsure of how to do basic tasks
Some pharmacologists have gone on record of stating that these symptoms sound similar to those experienced after being administered a date rape drug such as scolopamine or GHB, as well as PCP or quaaludes. Furthermore, area hospitals have not been tested for these specific drugs.
What Are Governments in the United States and Mexico Doing About This?
In Mexico, authorities went through a total of 31 different resorts, nightclubs, and restaurants located in Cancun back in early August, in which they seized illegal alcohol from locations such as Fat Tuesdays and Iberostar Paraiso Maya. Additionally, a total of 10,000 gallons of alcohol were seized from another company that were using poor manufacturing practices while also supplying various hotpots for tourists. The name of this company has not been disclosed. Furthermore, Mexico’s legislative health committee currently has plans to unveil how they will combat illegal alcohol, which will be unveiled in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, in the United States, the chairman of both the Governmental Affairs Committee and Senate Homeland Security are currently pressing both the U.S. State Department and the Mexican government to strongly investigate these incidents further.
What Tips Can Travelers Make Note of in Order to Prevent an Incident Like This?
Always travel in a pair or a group, and if you plan to drink, never do so alone. If you like to drink beer, request the beverage in a bottle that you can open yourself. Furthermore, always have someone with you as a designated driver or non-driver who will always be sober during your outing. In the event that you require medical care at an area hospital, make sure that you have at least $2,000 available on your credit card. If you purchase travel insurance, be sure to real all of the fine print, as there are some companies who will refuse to pay if you end up getting injured while intoxicated.
What Should Someone Do if They Suspect They Have Either Been Drugged, Robbed, Injured, or Assaulted?
It is highly recommended that you immediately contact an officer at the United States Embassy Consular office. You will be provided with information regarding how to contact police in the area you are vacationing so that you can file a report. Furthermore, if you end up needing to be hospitalized, an official at this office can accompany you there.