Date rape drugs, also known as club drugs, sound like something you would see in a made-for-television movie – not real life. And yet, drug-assisted rapes and date rapes (also referred to as acquaintance rapes) do occur. As an illustration, watch this YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2udrpuNxcmM to see an undercover date rape scenario to gauge guys’ reactions to someone’s drink being “spiked.”
Before we get into the details of the drugs used, let’s define a few things. Date rape is sexual assault, which occurs when someone is forced into a sexual activity that she or he did not agree to. Sexual assault is not limited to intercourse; it’s also unwelcomed touching as well as attempted rape. According to the Bureau of Justice (1997), 77% of rapes are committed by non-strangers, i.e. by people known to the victim. The Texas Women’s University (2007) reported that one woman out of every eight in college is raped and 85% of the time the women knew their attacker. Many of these acquaintance rapes go unreported.
A date rape drug is any substance that interferes with a person’s refusing or stopping a sexual encounter. Date rape drugs include alcohol and marijuana, as well as club drugs like Rohypnol, Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate (GHB) and Ketamine Hydrochloride. These club drugs are the most commonly used because they leave the body within 72 hours, and are usually odorless, tasteless and colorless. These drugs also take effect very quickly. While each of these drugs each has different effects, they all leave the person passive or unconscious, with no memory of what happened to them (with the exception of brief flashbacks). The best sources of information about these drugs are the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health, and The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Here is some of the information provided on their websites. Visit their sites (links below) to see the complete list of side effects and the more technical terms for the drugs.
Rohypnol is a benzodiazepine (a sedative like Valium). It is illegal and can be fatal when mixed with alcohol. This drug is usually placed into an alcoholic drink (or any other drink) and comes in an odorless, colorless and tasteless form, making it almost undetectable. Rohyphnol can make the victim not remember what happened while under the influence of the drug. Also, victims will appear drunk even if they’ve only had one drink. This drug takes up to thirty minutes to take effect but stays in the system for hours. In addition to being lethal at high doses, it is also addictive.
Street names: Rophy, Ruffles, Roofies, Ruffies, Ruff Up, Rib, Roach 2, R2, R2-Do-U, Roche, Rope, Ropies, Circles, Circes, Forget It, Forget-Me-pill, Mexican Valium, Mind Erasers, Lunch Money, Trip and Fall and Whiteys. (www.womenshealth.gov)
This intoxicating drug, which suppresses the central nervous system, was originally prescribed for those who suffer from the sleep disorder narcolepsy. Like Rohyphnol, it also comes in an odorless, tasteless and colorless form. It is also most commonly placed in a drink and takes up to 15 minutes for the effects to be felt. GHB acts as a sedative and the victim will be drowsy, dizzy, and relaxed. In high doses, the drug causes black-outs and can lead to a coma, seizures or even death.
Street names: Bedtime Scoop, Cherry Meth, Easy Lay, Energy Drink, G, Gamma 10, Georgia Home Boy, G-Juice, Gook, Goop, Great Hormones, Liquid Ecstasy (or E), Liquid X, PM, Salt Water, Soap, Somatomax, Vita-G (www.womenshealth.gov)
Ketamine is most commonly used by veterinarians as an anesthetic. In low doses this fast-acting drug impairs the memory and causes the user have a distorted view of the environment and events, almost like a dream. At high doses, this drug can cause hallucinations and amnesia. People who use this drug voluntarily usually binge on it and develop a higher tolerance and even cravings.
Street names: Black Hole, Bump, Cat Valium, Green, Jet, K, K-Hole, Kit Kat, Psychedelic Heroin, Purple, Special K, Super Acid (www.womenshealth.gov)
While this article has covered specific club drugs, don’t forget about the number one drug used to commit sexual assault: alcohol. An intoxicated person will most likely not be able to tell if a situation is dangerous or not. He or she also doesn’t think clearly or make good decisions. In addition to potentially blacking out, someone under the influence will also find it harder to say “no” to unwanted sexual advances and to fight back if one does occur.
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network www.rainn.org
National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE