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Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs

Date Rape Drugs
What are date rape drugs?

Date rape drugs are drugs used to facilitate a sexual assault. A victim often unknowingly ingests one of these colorless, odorless, tasteless drugs after it has been slipped into the personís drink. These drugs can cause dizziness, disorientation, loss of inhibition, and loss of consciousness. These drugs are also known to cause amnesia, which can make it difficult for a victim to recall if a crime has occurred.

The most common date rape drugs are:

  1. GHB (gamma hydroxybutyric acid)
  2. Rohypnol (flunitrazepam)
  3. Ketamine (ketamine hydrochloride)
  4. Alcohol*

*Though not officially termed a date rape drug, alcohol is frequently involved in cases of sexual assault.

GHB

GHB is a central nervous system sedative that can produce drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, unconsciousness, seizures, severe respiratory depression, hallucinations, euphoria, feelings of affection, and coma. When GHB is combined with alcohol, the effects of the two depressants can be especially dangerous and quickly lead to overdose.

GHB comes in several forms: liquid, white powder, and tablet; but liquid is the most common. The strength of GHB varies in its different forms, so it is easy to take a dangerous dose of the drug. The effects of the drug begin in 10 to 20 minutes after taking it and last up to 4 hours.

In addition to being a "date rape drug," GHB is often referred to as a "club drug" because it is a popular drug among teenagers and young adults at bars, clubs, concerts, and parties.

Rohypnol

Rohypnol belongs in a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines (Valium and Xanax). When mixed with alcohol, Rohypnol can incapacitate victims (prevent them from resisting sexual assault) and can be deadly. The effects of Rohypnol include: muscle relaxation or loss of muscle control, sleepiness, nausea, difficulty communicating, difficulty with movement, confusion, blurred vision, loss of consciousness, and dizziness. Rohypnol can also cause deep sedation and blackouts lasting for up to 24 hours. Rohypnol is known to produce "anterograde amnesia," which means that individuals may not remember events they experience while under the effects of the drug.

Rohypnol is a tablet that dissolves in liquids. New pills turn blue when added to liquids, but older pills, with no color, are still circulating.

In addition to being a "date rape drug," Rohypnol is often referred to as a "club drug" because it is a popular drug among teenagers and young adults at bars, clubs, concerts, and parties.

Ketamine

Ketamine is an anesthetic that has been used in both human and animal medical settings since 1970. Street names for Ketamine include "special K" or "vitamin K."

At high doses, Ketamine can cause a dream-like state, delirium, a feeling of loss of control, amnesia, impaired motor function, high blood pressure, depression, and potentially fatal respiratory problems. Low doses of Ketamine can lead to reduced attention, learning ability, and memory.

Ketamine comes as clear liquid or a white powder made by drying the liquid. It is injected or snorted. The effects of the drug begin in a few minutes and last less than an hour.

In addition to being a "date rape drug," Ketamine is often referred to as a "club drug" because it is a popular drug among teenagers and young adults at bars, clubs, concerts, and parties.

Alcohol

Though alcohol is not typically thought of as a "date rape drug," the effects of alcohol make it difficult to think clearly and resist sexual or physical assault. Alcohol is a common factor in sexual assault cases.

According to Facts on Tap, 90% of all campus rapes occur when alcohol has been used by either the assailant or the victim.

Fifty-five percent of female students and 75% of male students involved in acquaintance rape admit to having been drinking or using drugs when the incident occurred.

In addition, as many as 70% of college students admit to having engaged in sexual activity primarily as a result of being under the influence of alcohol.

Click for more information about alcohol.

How to avoid coming under the influence of date rape drugs
  1. Don't accept drinks from other people.
  2. Open containers yourself or watch the bartender open them.
  3. Watch your drinks being made.
  4. Keep your drink with you at all timesóeven when you go to the bathroom. Keeping your drink in your hand and covering the top of it is safest. If you look away, someone could easily add something to your drink. If your drink is out of sightóeven for a momentódo not finish it. Get a new drink.
  5. Don't share drinks.
  6. Avoid punch bowls or community drinking containers - they may already have drugs in them.
  7. Don't drink anything that tastes or smells strange. Sometimes GHB has a salty taste.
  8. If you are going to be drinking, always have a trusted friend who is not drinking with you to keep an eye on you. Check in with the friend frequently to avoid dangerous situations.

If you experience any of the symptoms common to date rape drugs, get help immediately. Even if you have not been sexually assaulted, a crime has been committed if you have been given one of these drugs without your knowledge. Ask for a drug test to determine if you have been given one of these drugs. How quickly the drug leaves your system and becomes undetectable on a drug screen depends on the dose you were given and your individual metabolism. If you suspect you have been given one of these drugs, the sooner you have a drug test, the more likely it is you will have proof that a crime has been committed and a police report can be filed. Even if you donít know who drugged your drink, filing a police report will alert police to the criminal activity.

If you suspect you have been drugged
  1. Get help immediately. Either go to a hospital or contact the police. On campus: Contact the campus police at 274-7911.
  2. If possible, don't urinate before getting help. A urine test may be used to determine if a drug is in your body.
If you suspect you have been assaulted
  1. Get help immediately. Either go to a hospital or contact the police. On campus: Contact the campus police at 274-7911 or visit the Center of Hope at Wishard Hospital - the center specializes in sexual assault and provides the extra care that victims need.
  2. Don't change clothes before getting help, if possible. Take a change of clothes with you to the hospital. The police will keep your clothes as evidence.
  3. If possible, don't urinate before getting help. Ask for a urine drug screen as soon as possible if you suspect a drug was used.
  4. Don't douche, bathe, or shower before getting help if possible. These actions could wash away evidence of an assault.