Date-Rape Drugs

What Are Date-Rape Drugs?

Date-rape drugs are substances that make it easier for someone to rape or sexually assault another person. They include alcohol and some medications. The person who’s attacked might become confused, have trouble defending themselves, or not be able to remember what happened later.

“Date rape” doesn’t always happen on a date. An attacker could be someone you just met or someone you’ve known for a while.

Common Types of Date-Rape Drugs

An attacker can use several kinds of drugs or medications to overpower someone else or cause them to forget an incident. The most common date-rape drugs are:

  • GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid ). This is a depressant that has many nicknames: easy lay, Georgia home boy, liquid X, liquid ecstasy, liquid E, grievous bodily harm, Gib, G-riffic, scoop, soap, salty water, organic Quaalude, or fantasy. Doctors sometimes prescribe it to treat a sleep disorder called narcolepsy.
  • Rohypnol  (flunitrazepam). This is a strong benzodiazepine (a class of tranquilizers) also known as Mexican Valium, circles, roofies, la rocha, roche, R2, rope, and forget-me pill. It’s not available legally in the United States. In other countries, doctors sometimes use it as anesthesia before surgery.
  • Ketamine. This is a dissociative drug that makes you feel detached from reality. Its nicknames include Special K, vitamin K, and cat Valium. Doctors and veterinarians use it as anesthesia. Researchers are also studying it in people who have severe depression.
  • Alcohol. Many attackers use one of those three drugs along with alcohol. It can boost the medicine’s effects. But alcohol by itself can also keep someone from defending themselves, knowing what’s happening to them, or remembering it later.

What Do Date-Rape Drugs Look Like?

  • GHB is usually a liquid that can be mixed with other liquids. It also comes as a powder. Neither form has a smell or a taste.
  • Rohypnol used to come as a white tablet that didn’t have a smell or taste. Drug companies now make it as a light green pill with a blue core. If someone puts it in a clear drink, the liquid turns blue. Some generic pills may not have the blue dye.
  • Ketamine is a clear liquid or an off-white powder that’s often injected. You can’t smell or taste it.

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Date-Rape Drug Effects

  • GHB can make you sleepy, forgetful, or weak. It can also cause seizures, slow heartbeat, slow breathing, and a coma. The effects start in 15 to 30 minutes and last 3 to 6 hours.
  • Rohypnol relaxes you. In high doses, it can cause trouble controlling your muscles, amnesia, loss of inhibitions, and loss of consciousness. Its effects usually start within 30 minutes and peak about 2 hours after you take it. As little as 1 milligram can affect you for 8 to 12 hours.
  • Ketamine might make you hallucinate or feel woozy. It can also cause an upset stomach, vomiting, high blood pressure, changes in your heart rate, seizures, or a coma. It usually takes effect within 30 minutes and lasts an hour or two. But you could be affected for a day or more.
  • Alcohol may make you relaxed, chatty, and confident. As you drink more, your emotions become unstable, and you lose control of your body. Drinking too much can put you in a coma. Alcohol usually enters your brain within a few minutes.

How to Avoid Date-Rape Drugs

A few tips can help keep you safe when you’re out:

  • Pour your own drinks. Avoid open containers that could be spiked, like punch bowls. Don’t accept drinks from other people.
  • Keep control of your drink at all times. Carry it yourself, even if you have to take it to the bathroom with you.
  • Don’t drink anything that tastes strange.
  • Stick with your friends. Ask them for help if you start to feel odd.

What Should I Do If I Think I’ve Been Drugged and Raped?

If you suspect that someone drugged and assaulted you, call 911 or have someone you trust take you to the emergency room. The authorities will collect any evidence they can, so try not to pee, douche, bathe, wash your hands, or change clothes before you go to the hospital.

Tell your medical team what happened. Ask for a urine test as soon as possible so they can look for drugs before your body flushes them out.

No matter how much you drank or what drugs you took, sexual assault is never your fault. It’s common to go through a range of emotions afterward. Talk to someone you trust or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) at any time, day or night.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Jennifer Casarella on March 20, 2020

Sources

SOURCE:

Club Drugs from eMedicineHealth.

Drugs.com. "GHB or Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate."

Drugs.com. "Rohypnol."

GHB Symposium. Toxicol Rev,  2004.  "Abused Analogues of GHB," Vol, 23, pg. 21 - 31. 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health: “Date rape drugs.”

National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens: “What Are Date Rape Drugs and How Do You Avoid Them?”

National Institute on Drug Abuse: “Commonly Abused Drugs Charts.”

Drugs.com: “Ketamine Abuse.”

Australian Department of Health: “What are the effects of alcohol?”

 

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