What are date rape drugs

Someone may spike your drink with a date rape drug without you knowing.

Someone may spike your drink with a date rape drug without you knowing.

*Date rape facts medical author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

  • Date rape drugs are drugs used to assist in a sexual assault, which is any type of sexual activity a person does not agree to.
  • These drugs can affect you very quickly and cause victims to become weak, confused, and even pass out. You may not remember what happened while you were drugged. Date rape drugs can also cause seizures and even death.
  • 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.
  • Alcohol may also be considered a date rape drug because it affects judgment and behavior and can be used to help commit sexual assault.
  • The club drug “ecstasy” (MDMA) has also been used to commit sexual assault.
  • Protect yourself by not accepting drinks from others, not sharing drinks, watching your drink, and having a non-drinking friend with you to make sure nothing happens.
  • If you suspect you have been exposed to a date rape drug or have been sexually assaulted, call 911 and get to an emergency room immediately.
  • Contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE if you need assistance.

Adverse Effects of Club Drugs

Uncertainties about the sources, chemicals, and possible contaminants used to manufacture many club drugs make it extremely difficult to determine toxicity and associated medical consequences. Nonetheless, we do know that:

  • Coma and seizures can occur following use of GHB. Combined use with other drugs such as alcohol can result in nausea and breathing difficulties. GHB and two of its precursors, gamma butyrolactone (GBL) and 1,4 butanediol (BD), have been involved in poisonings, overdoses, date rapes, and deaths.
  • Rohypnol may be lethal when mixed with alcohol and/or other CNS depressants.
  • Ketamine, in high doses, can cause impaired motor function, high blood pressure, and potentially fatal respiratory problems.

Learn more about club drugs »

What are date rape drugs?

Date rape drugs are any type of drug or alcohol used to make rape or sexual assault easier. Drugs or alcohol can make a person confused about what is happening, less able to defend themselves against unwanted sexual contact, or unable to remember what happened. Learn more about how date rape drugs are used.

Many people use the phrase “date rape.” But the person who commits the crime might not be in a relationship, or on a date, with the victim. Someone who commits date rape can be someone you know well, someone you know through friends, or someone you just met.

What are the most common date rape drugs?

People who use date rape drugs or alcohol to commit sexual assault most often use alcohol alone or in combination with other drugs. Learn more about how alcohol is linked to sexual assault.

Someone could use any type of drug, including marijuanacocaine, or prescription or over-the-counter drugs like antidepressants, tranquilizers, or sleeping aids to overpower a victim or make them not remember an assault.

Other date rape drugs include flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), and ketamine. These drugs are sometimes called “club drugs” because they are often used at dance clubs, concerts, bars, or parties. Most drugs, including club drugs, have nicknames that change over time or are different in different areas of the country. SLIDESHOWAddicted to Pills: The Health Risks of Drug AbuseSee Slideshow

How are date rape drugs used?

Someone can use date rape drugs or alcohol to overpower you so you do not know what is happening or remember the assault. Sometimes date rape drugs are put into a drink without you knowing. Or, you may be drinking alcohol or taking a drug, but someone else makes it stronger without you knowing.

What do date rape drugs look like?

Some date rape drugs look like regular drinks or other drugs you may be used to seeing. Drugs such as Rohypnol, GHB, GBL, and ketamine may look like pills, liquid, or powders. Often date rape drugs have no color, no smell, and no taste when added to a drink or food. Learn about the most common date rape drugs.

If someone adds a date rape drug to a drink, it may change the color of a clear drink or make your drink look cloudy. But changes can be hard to see if the drink is dark (such as cola or beer) or if the room is dark. You can’t always tell if a drug has been added to your drink just by looking at it or tasting it. Read steps you can take to be safer in social situations where there are drinks.

How do date rape drugs and alcohol affect the body?

Drugs such as Rohypnol, GHB, GBL, and ketamine are very powerful. They can affect you very quickly, and you might not know that something is wrong. The length of time that the effects last varies. It depends on how much of the drug is in your body and if the drug is mixed with other drugs or alcohol. Alcohol can make the effects of drugs even stronger and can cause serious health problems — even death.

Date rape drugs or too much alcohol can make you:

  • Dizzy
  • Have problems talking or slurred speech
  • Have trouble moving or controlling your muscles
  • Feel nauseous or vomit
  • Have a very slow or very fast heartbeat
  • Sleepy
  • Confused
  • Have trouble breathing
  • Pass out

Drugs and alcohol can cause problems thinking, making decisions, and remembering what happened.

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