The Use and Abuse of Date Rape Drugs

How much do you really know about date rape drugs?

 

Although Bill Cosby has been making headlines for his alleged use of date rape drugs, sexual assault cases involving these substances have been a problem in the U.S. for decades and continue to be a growing trend. What’s more, many young adults and teenagers are now recreationally abusing these drugs as a way to get high.

Defining Date Rape

Date rape drugs are typically used in the commission of a sexual assault. Although there are different definitions for the term “sexual assault,” it is widely accepted that these assaults occur when anyone is forced (without giving consent) to participate in or witness sexual activities. Examples can include:

  • Rape or attempted rape
  • Touching someone else’s body or your own
  • Having someone watch or photograph you in a sexual manner
  • Being exposed to someone else’s body
  • Spiking Food and Beverages

Most date rape victims are unaware that their food or drink has been “spiked.” That’s because the drugs are generally added while the intended victim has looked away or stepped out of the room. The good news is that, in many instances, people are able to spot these questionable substances before ingesting them.

Abusing Date Rape Drugs

Let’s take a look at some common date rape drugs that are being abused recreationally:

  • Flunitrazepam: (Street names: Rohypnol, roofies) Rohypnol is used as a date rape drug, to help “come down” after a sleepless drug binge and to increase the effects of other drugs. It’s tasteless and odorless; it also dissolves quickly in carbonated beverages. It comes in a small, white, round tablet and is usually taken orally, but can be ground up and snorted.
  • Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid:(Street names: GHB, liquid ecstasy, blue nitro, cherry meth, easy lay) GHB is a narcotic sedative that comes in liquid, powder and pill forms. It is currently abused by teens and young adults at bars, parties, clubs and raves. Date rape victims become incapacitated due to the sedative effects of GHB, plus they are unable to fight off sexual attackers.
  • Ketamine:(Street name: Special K) Ketamine is used in powder or liquid forms for anesthetic purposes. Thanks to its detached, dreamlike effects, this drug is widely abused and utilized to facilitate sexual assaults.

Be Prepared and Educate Yourself

Luckily, there are ways that you can protect yourself from date rape drugs. Don’t leave your drink unattended and never accept a beverage from anyone besides a bartender or server. If possible, try to attend parties with a group of friends so you can watch each other’s drinks and leave as a group.

People who abuse date rape drugs often say the effects are “paralyzing.” The symptoms kick in approximately twenty to thirty minutes after taking the drug and may last for up to twelve hours. Users can become so incapacitated that they collapse to the floor, eyes wide open, able to observe events but completely unable to move. Overdose symptoms are likely with higher doses and lack of tolerance, requiring immediate and professional medical attention.

Learn more about the physical and mental effects of date rape drugs.

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