What Are Date Rape Drugs?

There is an old expression that highlights the problem of DFSA (drug facilitated sexual assault); “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.” This expression also points out that alcohol is still the number one date rape drug of choice. However, there are also a number of chemicals that have been found to make it much easier for a sexual assault or rape to take place. Date rape drugs are used most frequently in people between the ages of 16 to 24, and the drugs are usually administered by someone the victim knows already.

The use of any drug, be it alcohol or a chemical compound loosens inhibitions in both sexes while often increasing aggression, particularly in men. The use of date rape drugs by sexual predators is going up, too, and these drugs are used against both women and men, and although women are the most frequent victims of date rape, men can be used in this way, too.

Date Rape Drugs

While alcohol is undoubtedly the most common date rape drugs, there are several others that are used, often in combination with alcohol to produce a state of compliance.

  • Rohypnol, or Roofies, are one of the favorite date rape drugs. Slipped into a beverage without the knowledge of the potential victim, Rohypnol is tasteless and is presented as a small pill. Dye is now added to the pills to turn the drink blue or green, but in low light settings, this could be hard to detect. The effects of Roofies include confusion, amnesia, and loss of muscular control and are felt in about half an hour. This drug can also cause coma and death.
  • Ketamine, also known as Special K, also acts quickly, and while producing similar effects to Rohypnol, also adds in hallucinations, aggressive outbursts of rage, numbness, and loss of the ability to move. Ketamine is often used by veterinarians as an anesthetic for pets undergoing surgery, and is a white powder.
  • GHB acts fast once ingested, producing a dreamlike mental state, amnesia, respiratory difficulties, seizures, coma, and death. This drug makes drinks taste salty, but not only is it relatively easy to mask the taste, but someone who has already consumed several drinks simply may not notice. This drug readily causes overdose, sometimes resulting in death.
  • Ecstasy is not ordinarily considered to be a date rape drug, but it does produce feelings of compliance, and a desire to touch other people and be accepted by them. Ecstasy is in the amphetamine drug group, and it can cause overdose, addiction, and death from cardiac failure.

Blaming the Victim

All too often those who administer date rape drugs to others seek to justify their actions in a number of ways. They often say that the victim was really ‘asking for it’ by dressing provocatively or sending out sexual signals unconsciously, or simply because the victim was intoxicated. However, no one, male or female, asks to be raped and this is simply an attempt at self-justification on the part of the predator. The effects of being raped can be long lasting and have a detrimental effect on the victim’s life long after the physical effects of the crime have healed. The predator may also feel that he has access to the victim without her (or his) consent because they have had sex on previous occasions.

How to Avoid Date Rape

There are a number of ways that you can protect yourself against becoming a date rape victim, and most of these are simply common sense:

  • Nature has given you instincts that help to protect you. One of these instincts is one that warns you of potential danger. If you are uncertain or skeptical about something or someone, avoid it or them. Don’t give in to blandishments but trust yourself and extract yourself from the situation, and stay in a group for protection.
  • When at a party do not accept drinks that are simply given to you – you have no idea if the drink is safe or whether it’s been tampered with. Likewise, do not drink out of a soda can that has already been opened.
  • Do not leave a drink unattended; if you have to use the toilet, take the drink in with you. If you have left a drink unattended while using the bathroom, pour it out and get a fresh one.
  • Punch bowls can easily be spiked with one of the date rape drugs. Never accept a glass of punch at a party.
  • Remember that most rapes are done by someone you know and/or trust.
  • Bring a teetotal friend along when going to a party. Not only will he or she be able to drive safely afterwards, but their judgement will not be impaired and they may be able to spot a dangerous situation and prevent it from developing firther.
  • Feeling drunk after only one drink is usually a good indication that you have been ‘slipped a Mickey’ and you should seek medical help immediately.

If You Suspect the Worst

In many cases the person who has been raped will have absolutely no recollection of the incident; most of these drugs do cause amnesia. In other cases, remembrance of the crime will only surface after 10 or 12 hours, and by this time the drugs will probably already have been excreted from the body.

If you find your clothes or bedding ripped or simply feel that you have had a sexual encounter without having any memory of it, you could well have been taken advantage of while under the influence of a date rape drug.

If you believe that you may have been raped while under the influence of a date rape drug, it’s important to seek medical care immediately. Do not clean yourself up – there could be valuable evidence in or on your body and on your clothes. Have a urine sample taken to see if date rape drugs are present in your system, and do this quickly as your body will flush these drugs out quite rapidly. Leave the ‘scene of the crime’ intact as there could be evidence there, too.

Rape is a serious crime that can cause both physical and mental problems for the victim. If you do find that life has become difficult and you are depressed after you have been raped, seek counseling as soon as possible.

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