Date rape drugs: Types, symptoms, side effects, and prevention (2022)

A person can use any drug that alters someone’s consciousness in a way that makes self-defense or sound decision-making difficult in order to perpetrate a sexual assault. Knowing the most common date rape drugs and their side effects can help prevent or stop sexual violence.

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At least 1 in 6 American women and 1 in 33 men are survivors of completed or attempted sexual assault during their lifetime. On college campuses alone, 21% of people who identify as transgender, genderqueer, and nonconforming (TGQN) have experienced sexual assault.

Research also shows that about 11 million women are survivors of rape while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. There is no conclusive data on the purposeful use of drugs for sexual assault on survivors of any sex, but law enforcement is reporting that the number is rising.

Researchers suggest that the perpetrator is often someone the survivor knows. Recognizing when an individual has been drugged and is at risk of harm can help prevent or stop a sexual assault.

Drugs can make sexual assault easier by:

  • making a person more compliant and less able to say no
  • weakening someone so they are unable to resist or fight back
  • making an individual fully or partially unconscious
  • weakening a person’s inhibitions so they consent to sexual activity they may otherwise decline

While some drugs are more known for use during a sexual assault, any substance that changes a person’s state of mind, including some prescription drugs, street drugs, such as heroin, and popular drugs, such as cannabis, can have uses for this purpose.

Below are the most common substances individuals use to facilitate a sexual assault:

Alcohol

Alcohol is the most popular and most readily available drug. According to one study, nearly 31% of drug-facilitated sexual assault cases involved alcohol. On college campuses, a common setting for sexual assault, alcohol-related incidents are especially common.

Alcohol lowers a person’s inhibitions, making them less aware of their surroundings. Additionally, people readily consume the substance. It can also spur aggressive behavior by those willing to commit sexual violence, increasing their willingness to harm others.

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are a class of anti-anxiety drugs that can also cause people to feel sleepy. Individuals can use several of these drugs, including Xanax (alprazolam) and Klonopin (clonazepam), to incapacitate someone for the purpose of sexual assault.

(Video) What YOU Need To Know About Date Rape Drugs…

One of the most common and well-known benzodiazepine drugs individuals use in this way is Rohypnol (flunitrazepam). Rohypnol causes a person to feel very relaxed, weakens their muscles, and may cause loss of muscle control. Some people may also lose consciousness or feel dizzy and confused.

After Rohypnol wears off, some individuals do not remember what happened. Rohypnol comes in pill form, but a perpetrator can dissolve it in liquid, such as an alcoholic drink.

Ketamine

Ketamine is an anesthetic that acts quickly to cause feelings of relaxation. People may lose consciousness or become confused and compliant. They might not remember what happened while under the influence of the drug.

Ketamine acts almost immediately, so a person may not have time to realize that someone has drugged them.

At high doses, the drug can cause breathing problems that may be fatal.

Ketamine is a white powder that may change the taste of someone’s drink. Consequently, perpetrators sometimes use it in strong-tasting alcoholic beverages that may disguise the drug’s presence.

Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB)

GHB is a drug form of a neurotransmitter that naturally occurs in the body. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that help nerves send and receive signals.

GHB slows activity in the central nervous system, making users feel groggy, sleepy, and potentially confused.

At low doses, GHB can cause nausea and vomiting. Higher doses can cause loss of consciousness, seizures, difficulty seeing, and the inability to recall what happened when a person is drugged.

It is easy to overdose on GHB. People will commonly manufacture it in home “labs.” Consequently, a person may become extremely sick after being drugged with GHB, and it can be fatal.

GHB is a colorless, odorless liquid, so individuals may not realize that someone has drugged them.

Other date rape drugs

Someone can use any drug that changes a person’s consciousness to facilitate sexual assault.

In some cases, the individual might even ingest the drug willingly. A person who uses heroin, for example, may be so incapacitated that they do not realize a perpetrator is attempting to sexually assault them.

Often, the perpetrator will dissolve a drug in the person’s drink. If someone experiences the following signs, they may have been drugged and are in danger. If an individual sees someone else experience any of these symptoms, they should interfere or call for help immediately.

Some signs to watch for include:

  • feeling or acting drunk despite a person not having drunk any alcohol
  • feeling confused or disoriented
  • losing consciousness
  • not remembering how someone got somewhere
  • being unable to remember anything after drinking
  • waking up feeling confused, hungover, or unable to recall the night before
  • experiencing genital or urinary pain and difficulty remembering what happened
  • discovering torn clothes

Date rape drug or severe intoxication?

It can be hard to distinguish the effects of a drug from those of alcohol, particularly after consuming large quantities of liquor.

People who are accustomed to the effects of alcohol should consider how they typically feel after drinking or when intoxicated. An unexplained change in a person’s reactions to alcohol could involve another drug.

Someone who feels significantly more intoxicated than usual should consider the possibility that an individual has drugged them.

The only way to know for sure is to seek medical testing.

(Video) Date rape drugs: Facts vs. myths explained | FACTUAL FEMINIST

It is possible to lose consciousness quickly, so a person should not waste time trying to find the perpetrator or researching whether their symptoms match those of any drug.

Instead, they should immediately tell a trusted friend they suspect someone may have drugged them. They or a friend should call for emergency help by dialing 911, then get themselves to a safe place.

They may want to ask a friend for a ride home or go to a public location and tell someone about the drugging.

(Video) Date rape drug survivor issues warning to fellow revellers

Next, they should seek emergency medical care. Drugs that people use for sexual assault usually leave the body within 12-72 hours, leaving no trace. After going to the emergency room or calling 911, individuals should tell the doctor, nurse, or dispatcher that they may have been drugged and request immediate testing.

A person who wakes up to signs that someone may have drugged them must also seek emergency medical care. A hospital can use a rape kit to test for signs of sexual assault. If the police catch a perpetrator, they can use this kit to prove their guilt.

To preserve evidence, a person should avoid showering or bathing until after the exam is complete.

Someone who thinks they may have experienced sexual assault may want to consider contacting their local sexual assault crisis center. The center could send a support advocate to the hospital or offer phone counseling. To find a crisis center, click here.

Many drugs are hard to identify, as they are often colorless, odorless, and tasteless.

However, Rohypnol will turn liquid blue in a light-colored drink, making it easier to recognize if someone has tampered with a beverage. Some other types of drugs might also taste slightly bitter or salty.

Some simple strategies that can help protect against being drugged include:

  • not drinking anything that tastes or smells strange
  • not drinking large quantities of alcohol around strangers
  • adopting the buddy system — always go out with a friend and look out for one another.
  • never leaving a drink unattended
  • never accepting a drink from a stranger or acquaintance
  • pouring your own drink where possible
  • never leaving with anyone after drinking

Sexual assault is never the survivor’s fault, yet many people feel guilty or ashamed. That guilt can prevent them from seeking medical care or reaching out for support to help them recover. Those who commit sexual assault are the only people responsible.

By acting quickly when a person thinks they might have been drugged or sexually assaulted, they can protect themselves, help catch the perpetrator, and potentially mitigate the dangerous effects of any drugs.

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Here are some common questions about drugs that people commonly use in sexual assault.

What is the number one date rape drug?

Alcohol is one of the most common and most widely available drugs. However, an individual can use any drug that alters a person’s state of mind as a date rape drug.

What is the date rape tablet called?

Rohypnol is a common type of sexual assault drug that usually comes in tablet form. Individuals can also snort it or crush and dissolve it in liquids.

How do I know I experienced a date rape?

Some possible signs of drug-related sexual assault include:

  • unexplained bruises
  • bleeding
  • pain
  • having no memory for a certain time
  • waking up without any clothes
  • waking up with clothing that is torn, stained, or put on wrong

If a person believes they may have experienced drug-related sexual assault, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.

Additional resources are available through the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. This is a nonprofit organization that provides free, confidential support for sexual assault survivors through the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline.

FAQs

Date rape drugs: Types, symptoms, side effects, and prevention? ›

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

Rohypnol
Flunitrazepam, also known as Rohypnol among other names, is a benzodiazepine used to treat severe insomnia and assist with anesthesia.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Flunitrazepam
relaxes you. In high doses, it can cause trouble controlling your muscles, amnesia, loss of inhibitions, and loss of consciousness.

What are date drugs called? ›

The most common date rape drugs -- also called "club drugs" -- are flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), also called roofies; gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), also called liquid ecstasy; and ketamine, also called Special K. These drugs may come as pills, liquids, or powders.

What are signs that you were drugged? ›

How would someone know if they had been drugged?
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Feeling very drunk when you have consumed little or no alcohol.
  • Nausea.
  • Sudden body temperature change, signaled by sweating or chattering teeth.
  • Sudden dizziness, disorientation, blurred vision.
  • Waking up with no memory, or spotty memory.

What drugs are used to spike drinks? ›

Recreational drugs like Ecstasy, Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), Ketamine and other 'party-drugs' are sometimes used to spike alcoholic drinks. Mixing alcohol and stimulants can be very dangerous and can cause serious medical problems, ranging from nausea to coma.

How long does G stay in your body? ›

The detection window is short, however, only being able to detect a small amount of GHB in urine up to 12 hours after last use.
...
How Long Does GHB Stay in Your System?
Body SystemTime in System
HairUp to a month
SalivaUp to 6 hours
UrineUp to 12 hours
1 more row
Jun 28, 2022

What happens when you get drugged? ›

What are the signs/symptoms of being drugged? GHB and Rohypnol are depressants and therefore the signs and symptoms are very similar to being heavily intoxicated (weakness, fatigue, slurred speech, loss of motor coordination, and visual impairment).

What are the after effects of being spiked? ›

Symptoms can include:
  • drowsiness or light-headedness.
  • difficulty speaking.
  • slurring your words.
  • difficulty concentrating.
  • loss of balance.
  • finding it hard to move.
  • visual problems, particularly blurred vision.
  • memory loss or 'blackouts' - when you cannot remember large sections of your evening.

What happens when someone is Roofied? ›

The first sign of being roofied is the onset of extreme brain fog. Victims also experience disorientation, difficulty focusing and concentrating, loss of muscle control, the sensation of paralysis and a feeling of extreme drunkenness.

How long do drugs stay in your system after being spiked? ›

Opioids like heroin and oxycodone are detectable for between 1 and 3 days after last use. Stimulants including cocaine, meth, and ADHD medications are detectable for about 2 or 3 days. Benzodiazepines and MDMA generally flag a urine test for up to 4 days after last dose.

How do you prevent spikes? ›

How to avoid drink spiking?
  1. Always buy your own drink and watch it being poured.
  2. Don't accept drinks from strangers.
  3. Never leave your drink unattended while you dance or go to the toilet.
  4. Don't drink or taste anyone else's drink.
  5. Throw your drink away if you think it tastes odd.
Oct 22, 2021

What to do the day after you've been spiked? ›

What should I do if I think I've been spiked? If you think you or someone you're with has been spiked, the best thing to do is tell the people you're with and seek medical help straight away. Call an ambulance if you are worried about their health or get to the nearest hospital and explain what has happened.

What are the long term side effects of GHB? ›

Long-term effects
  • severe memory problems.
  • heart disease.
  • hallucinations.
  • extreme anxiety. ...
  • breathing problems.
Nov 10, 2021

How can you tell if someone has put drugs in your drink? ›

Watch out for these warning signs to keep you and your friends safe when you go out.
  1. The Color of Your Drink has Changed. It may seem obvious, but a change in the color of your drink is a strong indicator that it may be spiked. ...
  2. Your Drink Looks Cloudy. ...
  3. Excessive Bubbles. ...
  4. Your Drink Tastes Funny.
Apr 16, 2019

How do you treat someone who has been spiked? ›

How to help a friend who has been spiked
  1. Tell a bar manager, bouncer or member of staff.
  2. Stay with them and keep talking to them.
  3. Call an ambulance if their condition deteriorates.
  4. Don't let them go home on their own.
  5. Don't let them leave with someone you don't know or trust.
Nov 2, 2021

How do drugs leave the body? ›

The last phase of a drug within the body is excretion. This is the process by which drugs and their metabolites exit the body, primarily via urine or feces. Drugs may also be excreted in sweat, saliva, breast milk, or exhaled air. A substance may be excreted in its altered, or metabolized, form or excreted intact.

Does a blood test show drugs? ›

Since drugs are rapidly metabolized and eliminated from the body, blood analysis offers a very brief detection window. Drugs in blood are typically detectable within minutes to hours, depending on the drug and the dose, versus one to several days in urine.

How soon can drugs be detected? ›

DrugHow soon after taking drug will there be a positive drug test?How long after taking drug will there continue to be a positive drug test?
Marijuana/Pot1-3 hours1-7 days
Crack (Cocaine)2-6 hours2-3 days
Heroin (Opiates)2-6 hours1-3 days
Speed/Uppers (Amphetamine, methamphetamine)4-6 hours2-3 days
7 more rows
Sep 27, 2018

What does spike up mean? ›

(intransitive) to increase sharply. Prices are bound to spike up during high season.

What is a spike volleyball? ›

In volleyball, spiking is the offensive play where a player slams the ball sharply downwards over the net and into the opposing court, making it difficult for the opposing team to recover the ball.

How do I know if Ive been spiked? ›

Drink spiking symptoms may include: feeling drunk, woozy or drowsy. feeling “out of it” or drunker than expected. mental confusion.

How does it feel to be drugged? ›

Rohypnol causes a person to feel very relaxed, weakens their muscles, and may cause loss of muscle control. Some people may also lose consciousness or feel dizzy and confused. After Rohypnol wears off, some individuals do not remember what happened.

How would you know if your drink was spiked? ›

The only way to know is to be mindful of the symptoms as and when you notice them taking effect. According to the NHS, these can mimic symptoms we link to feeling drunk and can include lowered inhibitions, loss of balance, visual problems, confusion, nausea, vomiting and unconsciousness.

How long does a spiked drink stay in your system? ›

Following a drink spiking incident, blood or urine samples will need to be taken as soon as possible. Most drugs leave the body 12 to 72 hours after being taken. So it's important that a blood or urine sample is tested as soon as possible.

Videos

1. Date rape drugs
(CH-06: VIDHIK [Social Science - IV])
2. New date-rape drug test can verify whether your drink has been drugged
(WCNC)
3. What is GHB, the rapist's drug of choice? | ITV News
(ITV News)
4. What is Rohypnol? (Roofies) | The Effects & What To Do!
(Pej The Addiction Interventionist)
5. Beware the dangers of alcohol, date rape drugs
(KHON2 News)
6. Go Healthy Date Rape Drugs 20131126 desktop
(PNC GUAM)

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