What Are Date Rape Drugs and How Do You Avoid Them?

You may have been warned that sometimes people secretly slip drugs into other people’s drinks to take advantage of them sexually. These drugs are called “date rape drugs.”

Date rape, also known as “drug-facilitated sexual assault,” is any type of sexual activity that a person does not agree to. It may come from someone you know, someone may have just met, and/or someone thought you could trust.

Date rape drugs can make people become physically weak or pass out. This is why people who want to rape someone use them—because they leave individuals unable to protect themselves.

Many of these drugs have no color, smell, or taste, and people often do not know that they’ve taken anything. Many times people who have been drugged (usually girls or women, but not always) are unable to remember what happened to them.

The dangerous three

The three most common date rape drugs are Rohypnol® (flunitrazepam), GHB (gamma hydroxybutryic acid), and ketamine.

  • Rohypnol (also known as roofies, forget-me-pill, and R-2) is a type of prescription pill known as a benzodiazepine—it’s chemically similar to drugs such as Valium or Xanax, but unlike these drugs, it is not approved for medical use in this country.
    • It has no taste or smell and is sometimes colorless when dissolved in a drink.
    • People who take it can feel very sleepy and confused and forget what happens after its effects kick in.
    • It can also cause weakness and trouble breathing, and can make it difficult for those who have taken it to move their body.
    • The effects of Rohypnol can be felt within 30 minutes of being drugged and can last for several hours.
    • To prevent misuse of Rohypnol, the manufacturer recently changed the pill to look like an oblong olive green tablet with a speckled blue core. When dissolved in light-colored drinks, the new pills dye the liquid blue and alert people that their drink has been tampered with. Unfortunately, generic versions of Rohypnol may not contain the blue dye.
  • GHB (also known as cherry meth, scoop, and goop) is a type of drug that acts as a central nervous system depressant and is prescribed for the treatment of narcolepsy (a sleep disorder).
    • It can cause a person to throw up; it can also slow their heart rate and make it hard to breathe.
    • At high doses, it can result in a coma or death.
    • It’s a tasteless, odorless drug that can be a powder or liquid. It’s colorless when dissolved in a drink.
    • Mixing it with alcohol makes these effects worse.
    • GHB can take effect in 15 to 30 minutes, and the effects may last for 3 to 6 hours.
  • Ketamine (also known as cat valium, k-hole, and purple) is a dissociative anesthetic. That means it distorts perceptions of sight and sound, and makes a person feel detached from their environment and themselves. It also reduces pain and overall feeling. Like other anesthetic drugs, it’s used during surgical procedures in both humans and animals.
    • It’s a tasteless, odorless drug that can be a powder or liquid.
    • It can cause hallucinations and make people feel totally out of it.
    • It can also increase heartbeat, raise blood pressure, and cause nausea.
    • The effects of ketamine may last for 30 to 60 minutes.

All drugs lower your defenses

It’s important to remember that all drugs affect how well your mind and body operate. In fact, alcohol is linked to far more date rapes than the drugs we’ve mentioned here. And nearly all drugs of abuse make people vulnerable to being taken advantage of—by impairing their judgment, reducing their reaction time, and clouding their thinking.

And as disgusting as it is to think about, when you don’t have your wits about you, someone may take that as an opportunity to push themselves on you.

How can you avoid date rape drugs?

If you’re at a party where people are drinking alcohol, you should be aware that there could be predators hoping to make you drunk or vulnerable. No matter what you’re drinking, even if it’s soda or juice, people can slip drugs in your drinks—so pour all drinks yourself and never leave them unattended (even if you have to take them into the bathroom with you).

Also, be sure to stick with your friends. There’s safety in numbers.

But even if you leave your drink or leave your friends behind, know this for certain: if you are drugged and taken advantage of, it’s not your fault.

Bottom line: People who date rape other people are committing a crime.

Check out the new “It’s On Us” campaign, sponsored by the White House. It encourages all of us—men and women—to create an environment where women are safe. “It’s On Us” asks each one of us to be more than a bystander, stop a sexual assault any way we can, and never blame the victim.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, visit the Office on Women’s Health to find help in your state.

via The National Institute on Drug Abuse Blog Team. (2015, March 16). What Are Date Rape Drugs and How Do You Avoid Them?. Retrieved from https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/what-are-date-rape-drugs-and-how-do-you-avoid-them on July 7, 2018. What Are Date Rape Drugs and How Do You Avoid Them?