Rohypnol, GHB and Ketamine
The scene has taken place hundreds of times: An innocent, and perhaps naive, victim leaves his or her drink unattended for a few minutes. An acquaintance with terrible intentions swoops in and empties a small vial of powder into the drink. Within minutes, said acquaintance is “helping” the “drunken” victim out of the bar. The rest of the night will be a blur for the victim and, sadly, it will likely involve a sexual assault. Hours later, the victim wakes up. He or she isn’t sure what happened but may find bodily evidence of an attack.
The most common rape drugs are:
- Rohypnol. Also known as roofies, roche, rib, rope, R-2 and Mexican valium, and by the chemical name flunitrazepam, this drug is a central nervous system depressant. It comes in the form of pills that have no taste or smell. These pills are usually dissolved in the drink of an unsuspecting victim. Those who ingest Rohypnol may experience anterograde amnesia, which means that they don’t remember anything that happens to them while they’re under the influence of the drug.
- GHB. Also known as grievous bodily harm, liquid ecstasy, G and easy lay, and by the chemical name gamma hydroxyl butyrate, GHB, like Rohypnol, is a central nervous system depressant. It comes in both pill and liquid form and has a soapy taste, but the taste is mild enough that it can be masked in a fruity drink. After ingestion, GHB can cause drowsiness and decreased inhibitions, as well as nausea, convulsions and respiratory failure.
- Ketamine. Also known as special K and vitamin K, and by the chemical name ketamine hydrochloride, this drug is sometimes used as an animal tranquilizer. It causes its victims to experience confusion and hallucinations that may persist for weeks after ingestion.
Alcohol can also be considered a date rape drug. Half of all women who are raped by acquaintances report that they were drunk when the attack occurred. Other drugs that have been implicated in rape cases include marijuana, cocaine and amphetamines.
Ten Things You Need to Know About Date Rape Drugs
- They are more common than you think. Verifiable statistics are hard to come by because many rapes aren’t reported, but there may be as many as 5,000 drug-induced sexual assault cases each year.
- They are relatively new to the scene. Rohypnol was first used as a rape drug in Europe in the 1970s. By the early 1990s, it had made its way to the United States.
- Rohypnol is the strongest and most common rape drug. Roofies can cause a person to lose consciousness within minutes. It’s similar to Valium, only it’s10 times more potent. The effects last for several hours.
- They can kill you. If the potential of being raped isn’t enough of a reason to protect yourself, keep in mind that many victims of rape drugs wind up in the hospital (and some die) as a result of an overdose.
- It’s not hard to stay safe. To protect yourself, follow these guidelines: always mix your own drinks at parties, never leave your drink unattended and always have a trustworthy “buddy” nearby to watch over you (and vice versa).
- Men get raped, too. Women aren’t the only ones at risk. Both heterosexual and homosexual men are frequently the victims of rape drug-induced attacks by homosexual men.
- They leave your system quickly. If you think you or a friend may have been raped, contact the police or a rape crisis center immediately. Some rape drugs can be detected in your urine for up to 72 hours following ingestion, others for only 24 hours. If you can, bring a sample of the drink with you.
- They are highly illegal. Before you slip a rape drug into someone’s drink, consider this: If caught, you face a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine (even if no rape occurs).
- You don’t have to be drinking alcohol to be given a drug. There are reports of date rape drugs being slipped into coffee, soda and even milk.
- Some people take them recreationally. Some drug users crush Rohypnol and snort it like cocaine. This is done for fun, rather than with the intent of rape.